The figure is now 15%, according to the answers to Parliamentary questions obtained by the Telegraph.
Keeping foreign nationals in overcrowded British jails is costing the taxpayer more than £398 million a year, it has been claimed. Figures obtained by the Tories show that 15 per cent of the nearly 80,000-strong prison population are from outside the UK. The largest contingents among the 12,122 come from Jamaica and Nigeria, with 1,490 and 1,070 respectively. Another 879 inmates are classified as having "unrecorded" nationality - raising questions over why officials have been unable to establish their origin, and what will happen to them when released.
Shadow immigration minister Damian Green, who brought the details to light through Parliamentary questions, said the situation was "truly shocking". "It shows what happens when the Government loses control of our borders. We seem to attract criminals from all over the world, and the British taxpayer ends up paying for them," he insisted. "Many of these criminals come from friendly democratic countries where deportation could be arranged. If we could remove the Jamaican prisoners alone we would save £49 million a year. And why are there nearly 1,000 people who have gone through the criminal justice system and been jailed without the Government even finding out where they come from?"
Mr Green used the "snapshot" figures from the end of February to calculate costs based on Government estimates of £33,000 annual expenditure for each prison place. Some 164 nationalities are represented in British jails, according to the data.
I like this intervention by Juliet Lyon of the Prison Abolition Trust.
"Mr Green rightly points out the large number of foreign nationals in UK prisons, but fails to mention that the dearest wish of many is nothing more than to go home."
Well, yes. I imagine it's the dearest wish of most of the native villains too.