UK Politics

UK and Ghana sign prisoner exchange deal

Prison

The UK has signed a deal with the West African nation of Ghana for the transfer of prisoners between the two countries.

It means citizens of one country who commit crimes in the other will serve sentences in their homeland.

International development minister Grant Shapps said removing foreign national offenders was a key priority for the British government.

There are currently 96 Ghana nationals in British jails.

Under the deal, prisoners can either apply for a transfer voluntarily or, where they are the subject of a deportation order, the transfer can take place without their consent.

Of the 96 Ghanaians behind bars in the UK, 48 would be eligible for voluntary transfers because they are serving sentences of longer than four years.

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Image caption Grant Shapps signed the deal in Ghana

Mr Shapps signed the agreement with Ghana's deputy attorney general on a visit to the country.

He said: "Removing foreign national offenders is a key priority for the British government and the agreement I have signed this morning plays an important role in supporting this from now on.

"This is an important achievement for the UK and the latest such compulsory agreement the UK has signed with another nation.

"The British government is committed to negotiating further compulsory transfer agreements wherever it can."

The prisoner transfer agreement is subject to ratification by the UK and Ghanaian Parliaments, meaning the first transfer is unlikely to take place before the end of the year.

The UK government said it would be "working closely" with Ghana's prison service to increase capacity.

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