The United Kingdom is to spend £25 million on a new prison in Jamaica, it has been announced, so that hundreds of foreign criminals can be repatriated to their home in the Caribbean and serve their sentences there.
The project, which is to be funded from the foreign aid budget, has been agreed to end lengthy negotiations between the two countries over a compulsory prisoner transfer deal.
More than 600 Jamaican nationals are serving sentences in Britain, which is the third largest group from any country. Prisoner repatriation to the Caribbean nation has so far been unsuccessful due to fears that poor jail conditions could lead to a successful challenge under human rights law.
More than 500 current offenders are to be repatriated under the Jamaican prison scheme, which affects those sentenced to at least four years and whom have more than 18 months left to serve.
Around 70% of Jamaican prisoners in Britain were sentenced for violent or drug offences.
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced the agreement during a visit to the commonwealth country this week – the first by a Prime Minister since Tony Blair in 2001. The UK contribution will account for 40% of the expected cost of what will be a 1500 capacity prison.
Prime Minister Cameron has also announced a further £300 million of investment for infrastructure across the Caribbean. This will include roads, bridges and ports.
No announcement has been made as to whether Britain will train Jamaican prison guards however – a move which would be vital for ensuring respectable conditions at the new prison complex.