The head of the returned residents group is reporting that the British Government has made a major decision in respect of Jamaicans convicted in the United Kingdom. Percival LaTouche says Britain has committed to providing cash incentives for Jamaicans serving sentences for crimes, if they agree to leave the UK before the end of their detention. According to Mr. LaTouche, the convicts could be given up to $5,000 British pounds, much less than it would cost to keep the convicts in British prisons. He would like other countries to implement an incentive system for Jamaican convicts facing deportation.
The deportation of Jamaican prisoners in the UK and their transfer to Jamaica has been going on for years. In 2007 Prime Minister Gordon Brown told Parliament that there were 1,400 Jamaican prisoners in British penal facilities, the highest number of all foreign nationals, adding that the UK would sign agreements with various countries “so that we can return prisoners from our cells as expeditiously as possible.”
In the last five years, numerous articles have centered on foreign nationals in UK prisons and the disproportionate number of Caribbean prisoners. In 2005, Jamaicans accounted for 84% of all Caribbean prisoners in the UK. In “Why Jamaicans are Overrepresented in British Prisons,” Professor Ben Bowling, Director of Criminological Studies at the School of Law at King’s College, London, explained that the disparity can be explained by the fact that organized crime groups in Britain use poor Jamaicans as drugs couriers. Stating that the Jamaican prisoners currently serving time in the UK are mostly drugs couriers who are arrested coming into the country, he says that “By an accident of geography, the Caribbean lies directly between the major cocaine-producing countries—Colombia, Bolivia and Peru—and the main drug-consuming countries of North America and Western Europe.” Another article confirms this, stressing that many Jamaica women used as drug mules are filling UK jails.
For full articles, see http://www.the-voice.co.uk/content.php?show=16830, http://www.iamcolourful.com/articles/feature/details/50/crime/, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3097882.stm, and http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20071025/lead/lead5.html