He said he does not know where most of the offenders, who include three murderers and nine rapists, are.
He admits that a growth in foreign prisoners had led to the Home Office taking its "eye off the ball".
The Guardian has details :
"The rules about deporting foreign nationals who serve a prison sentence in Britain are fairly straightforward and have not changed in recent years.
"Our policy has always been to consider serious offenders for deportation before release, or if that is not possible to make a decision about immigration detention, electronic monitoring or restriction orders before release," said Mr Clarke.
In practice the policy meant that any non-EU foreign national jailed for a serious crime - defined as a sentence of 12 months or more - was supposed to have the case for deportation considered before the end of his or her sentence. The Home Office said it had looked at 5,500 such cases in 2004 and 2005 and decided on deportation in 3,000 of them. In a minority of cases the court recommends that the individual should be deported at the end of their sentence - this was the case with 160 of the 1,023 foreign prisoners who had been overlooked."
I can't see why ANY offences short of a parking ticket shouldn't merit deportation - the above rules mean that quite serious thefts and assaults, or driving uninsured get past the 12 month sentence rule. But let it pass.
You can see how it would happen, of course. The Prison 'Service' is one of the most politically correct organisations in the country.
They have confessed to their institutional racism.
Like the police, they have 'targets' (not quotas - that would be racist) for ethnic minority staff.
Prison staff are prohibited from membership of organisations 'deemed to be racist'.
The way to honours and promotions is to exhibit anti-racism.
The flag of England is banned in prisons as a racist insignia.
In an environment like that, who's going to say :
"That chap Oluwale Mogambe - due for release next week. He's ... well ... he's not a foreigner, is he ?"
After all, there are plenty of British citizens with names like that. And you're in a service which is terrified of being seen as racist.
"What makes you ask that ?"The great Aaronovitch said in 2003 that "there is no greater propensity among immigrants towards crime, prostitution and anti-social behaviour than among the population at large". In 2004 10% of the UK prison population were foreign nationals - around 7,000 people. The figure is now over 10,000. As I said before, if you accept the Aaronovitch thesis then these figures must simply reflect our racist criminal justice system.
"Well .. he's got an unusual name"
"Could you just sit down for a minute ? I need to make a phone call."
"Governor ? I think we've got one"
"I'll be right down"
In totally unrelated news, "Criminal gangs trading in people and fake ID are "out of control", senior police officers have told the BBC."
The Met does a nice line in understatement.
"This is an area, given the changes that are taking place in the nature of London, which is something that we should invest in."
And in more totally unrelated news, "a majority of people back the British National Party's policies, according to a new poll."
"It found that 59% of people supported a halt to all further immigration to the UK - one of the BNP's main pledges - when they were not told of the far-right group's association with the policy.
Among those who were told that it was a BNP commitment, support for the policy was only 48%."
The full survey is here. What's interesting - and I think reflects well on the English - is that the statement
Non-white British citizens are inherently ‘less British’ than
was opposed by 68% of respondents and only supported by 16% - and these were people who hadn't been asked the question in the context of the BNP (when the proportions fell to 76/11). These aren't people who want to start packing cattle trucks full of unfortunates.
Its numbers that are cheesing off the natives - and giving the BNP support - numbers, numbers, numbers. The demographics are such that we're already well on the way to seeing an ethnically divided polity.
A year or so back I wrote to two famous liberal columnists, asking them both the same question - do numbers matter in the immigration debate ?
One replied that I'd been reading the Daily Mail too much - a paper I have bought maybe twice in the last year - and pretty much concluded I'd been seduced by the tabloid agenda, whatever that means.
The other replied 'Really, the question's not worth answering. The government would never allow immigration to grow in such a way'.