UK spending £1.5m on minibuses and electric vehicles for Albanian prison system

Thirty-seven minibuses and electric vehicles have been provided to Albania by the Government at a cost of £1.5 million, as part of a recent deal to return Albanian prisoners.

The arrangement, announced in May, will see 200 Albanian nationals jailed in England and Wales sent home for the rest of their sentence.

In return, the Government said it would help “modernise” the Albanian prison system.

The deal had been expected to cost the Ministry of Justice around £8 million over two years, with other funding coming from the Home Office.

Officials insisted that represents a cost saving, pointing to the fact it costs £40,000 a year to house each prisoner here.

New details from Government contracts, published this month, show that part of the multi-million pound deal is going towards kitting out the Albanian prison service with a new fleet of vehicles.

Around £500,000 will be spent on 15 electric vehicles, while 22 new minibuses will be provided to Albania’s prison service at a cost of more than £1 million.

The Government described the provision of electric vehicles as “part of the drive towards net zero and is part of a wider greening initiative”.

Announcing the arrangement in May, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the “public expects that foreign criminals should serve their sentences overseas – not in our prisons at the expense of the taxpayer”.

He promised that the deal “will speed up the removal of these offenders and give victims confidence that serious criminals will continue to face justice and spend the remainder of their sentence behind bars”.

The Ministry of Justice would not say when the vehicles will be delivered or whether more vehicles could be sent in the future.