Foreign Incarceration in the UK and the EU


Incarceration refers to the confinement of persons in prisons, in which they have no access to a number of freedoms. The confinement is a form of punishment for those who break the law and face conviction, in which they have to serve their jail term. This paper will discuss the number of foreign inmates in the United Kingdom and the European Union. The aim of the discussion is to compare and contrast the number of foreign prisoners in the EU and the UK with respect to the ethnic minority group.  The research will involve the use of literature materials to analyze, the differences and the similarities of the foreign prisoners in the UK and the EU.  The offenders and the type of offenses they committed will be under the scope of this study. Many cases of foreign incarceration are in England and Wales in which the total population in the UK prison numbered 86,000 in the year 2014. The number of women 3,956 and the male population was 81,905. This paper will deal with incarceration involving ethnicity, in which prisoners come from different parts of the world.

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 Differences between the UK and EU over-representation of foreigner incarceration

The number of foreign prisoners is very high in Britain, for instance, in 2003; statistics show that there were about 1500 foreigners in the UK prisons. Other statistics show that for every eight prisoners in the UK prisons, one of them is a foreigner.

In the EU, reports indicate that there was an increase of about 25 percent from the 2012 statistics. Some inmates are from Poland, and their number rose up by 125 percent from 2009 to 2012. The number of prisoners is a very big number and requires funds to sustain in the prisons.

Reports show that there is overcrowding in the EU prisons that hold foreigners, from the minority ethnic groups, such as Somalia and Bangladesh. Some of the notorious convicts in the UK jail are Mariusz. There are a number of inmates from Poland, who committed various crimes such as drug trafficking, murder, and burglary. There is a number of prisoners from Jamaica, such as Rohan Chunky Chung, who committed three murders. [2]

He is serving a term of 40 years for each count of murder. In the EU, reports indicate that there are illegal and secret prisons in some countries for unlawful detentions. There are very many foreign prisoners in the EU according to the recent reports.

There are many prisoners from Poland, as some official figures showed that 989 come from Poland, which is quite a big number. The other offenders in the UK are foreigners from Romania, Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Most of these countries are in the category of the developing countries, whose members visit the UK and engage in criminal activities.

In the EU about120 prisoners reported that their origin is from the Eastern European countries as compared to about 69 prisoners in 2012. Most of the prisoners came from Romania, in which 43 inmates were in the HMP Birmingham, HMYOI Brinsford, HMP Featherstone, and HMP Oakwood. The crimes the prisoners in the UK committed range from murder, rape, and terrorist activities. Most of these criminals come from countries like Albania, India, Somalia, and Bangladesh. In the EU, the crimes committed by the Romanians and prisoners from Poland are shoplifting, pickpocketing and some robbery with violence. The UK government spends over 362 UK pounds every year in caging the killers, rapists, and terrorists. According to the EU reports, it is very expensive for the ministry of justice to maintain a prisoner every year, with the cost ranging from 30,000 UK pounds to 35000 UK pounds.[3]


There are a number of similarities between the UK and the EU in which, both nations experience overcrowding and high maintenance costs to sustain the foreign prisoners. There is an agreement with the Britain government to deport some criminals after their conviction before locking them up. The challenge is that the majority of nations reject them, which leads to many foreign prisoners in the UK.

The overcrowding in the prisons is dangerous as the prisoners attack the staff leading to injuries and death. Other prison staff members opt for transfers from some of the UK prisons. Some prisoners remain in custody even after their jail term is over because the officials cannot agree on the logistics of kicking them out of the country. The number of foreign prisoners in England is twice the number it was ten years back, according to the recent statistics. This number is 14 percent of the total number of prisoners in the UK and is very expensive for the country to offset their bills. Similarly, in the EU, the ministry of justice suggestion is that the foreign inmates should serve their terms in their countries to reduce the costs and the overcrowding. The government, through the ministry of justice, aims at reducing the population of the foreign inmates through the foreign Transfer Agreements. The majority of the foreign prisoners in the EU are from Eastern Europe, and in the year 2012, about 3600 prisoners went to serve their terms in their countries.


The number of foreign prisoners is on the increase as most of the statistics in the UK and the EU indicates. Many people migrate to the UK and the EU but end up behind bars due to their criminal activities. In the UK, foreign incarceration is mostly from developing countries, all over the world such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Somalia.


Looking at the EU foreign prisoners, most of them originate from Eastern Europe and migrate to the EU in search of job opportunities. There are some similarities in the number of foreigners serving jail terms in the two nations, and the governments of the countries are struggling to reduce their numbers through deportation.


Clear, R., Incarceration, and crimeImprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse, Oxford University Press, 2007.

Goldberg, E., Prison Industrial Complex and the Global Economy, Oakland, РM Press, 2009.

Jefferson, T., and M.A.Walker, ‘Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Justice System’, Criminal Law Review, vol 81, no.140, p. 83.

Modood, T., and R. Berthoud, Ethnic minorities in Britain: diversity and disadvantage, London, Policy Studies Institute, 1997.

Shalev, S., Supermax: Controlling Risk Through Solitary Confinement. Routledge, SAGE, 2013.

Gross, S. R., and R. Mauro, Death & Discrimination: Racial Disparities in Capital Sentencing, Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1989.

[1]S.R.  Gross, and R. Mauro, Death & Discrimination: Racial Disparities in Capital Sentencing, Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1989.


[2] S.R. Gross, and R. Mauro, Death & Discrimination: Racial Disparities in Capital Sentencing, Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1989.


[3] T. Jefferson, and M.A.Walker, ‘Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Justice System’, Criminal Law Review, vol 81, no.140, p. 83

[4] S. Shalev, Supermax: Controlling Risk Through Solitary Confinement. Routledge, SAGE, 2013.

  1. Goldberg, Prison Industrial Complex and the Global Economy, Oakland, РM Press, 2009.
  2. Modood, and R. Berthoud, Ethnic minorities in Britain: diversity and disadvantage, London, Policy Studies Institute, 1997.


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