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April 4, 2014
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UK, Jamaica fail to settle prisoner-transfer deal

Britain's justice ministry has been unsuccessful in trying to finalise a deal with Jamaica's government, for prisoners to be returned to the island.

According to a report in Wednesday's online edition of the UK Daily Mail newspaper, Britain has been trying to persuade the Jamaican government to allow up to 737 prisoners to be returned to the island to serve sentences for crimes committed in the United Kingdom.

It is reported that hundreds of Jamaican prisoners are to stay in British jails at a cost of 27 million a year, and British taxpayers are already paying 400 million pounds a year for the imprisonment of 10,600 foreigners from 157 countries.

A voluntary agreement to allow prisoner transfers was signed in 2007, but seven years later it has still not been ratified by the Jamaican parliament.

David Cameron previously said UK taxpayers should fund foreign jails to ensure that prisoners can be deported

It is reported that, under the current voluntary deals, both countries, as well as the prisoner, must consent to the transfer, and there are fears that even with a compulsory deal, prisoners can claim that being sent home will be a breach to their right to a family life.

Jamaicans make up the third-largest proportion of nationalities in British prisons, after Polish and Irish inmates.

Meanwhile, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said, "We are currently providing Jamaica with advice on prison reform with a view to returning to discussions on this matter."

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