Travelling abroad under probation

By Nestor - 8 Sep 17 2:34 PM

Hi ther, I have been released, early august,  from a 12 weeks prison sentences (six weeks served) and been told that I could not travel outside of the UK. I am EU national and wish to return to my own country. What do I risk if I do so without my probation officer approbation ?
By AB2014 - 19 Sep 17 12:13 PM

Nestor - 14 Sep 17 4:42 PM
AB2014 - 14 Sep 17 1:39 PM
Nestor - 13 Sep 17 7:53 PM
AB2014 - 12 Sep 17 11:47 AM
Nestor - 10 Sep 17 12:01 PM
CC - 8 Sep 17 6:20 PM
Nestor - 8 Sep 17 2:34 PM
Hi ther, I have been released, early august,  from a 12 weeks prison sentences (six weeks served) and been told that I could not travel outside of the UK. I am EU national and wish to return to my own country. What do I risk if I do so without my probation officer approbation ?

Hi Nestor, personally I wouldn't, even if you manage it (think border controls) I guess the probation wont be best pleased and you might find yourself back inside on a much longer stretch, especially as you have such a short time to go. If its desperately urgent you may get permission to go if you then agree not to return but not likely to be honest.

Hi CC,
Thank you for your reply. I am not sure what you mean by 'especially as you have such a short time to go.' I have been told that I won't be able to travel for the next 12 month which for me look a bit long. I have no job. Little prospect to find one. No familly in the UK. Basically my question is would the UK seek extradition of me from my home country should I leave ? How long would I be send back to prison and finally would I be the deported at the end of my sentence ? (on my release date I have been told ' If you ever come back to prison we will deport you ?') Thanks in advance. 

Hi Nestor. The new sentencing rules mean you get a year on probation if your sentence was less than 12 months. It does seem a long time, but those are the rules. Having said that, probation are allowed to allow you go home, although the process might take a while. Unlock has an article about someone in your situation online here. If your probation officer is happy with you and they can show that there is no benefit to you staying in the UK, then a senior officer can allow you to leave legally. Going without permission might well cause problems, as a European Arrest Warrant would probably bring you back fairly quickly. You might then have to serve the rest of the probation period in prison, and if they didn't deport you the first time around, they probably wouldn't do it the second time around, whatever you were told. They would probably only deport you if you committed another offence.

Thanks AB2014. To clarify, ever since my release date my probation officer keep saying to me that it has not yet been decided whether the new sentencing rules apply to me. This is due to the dates of the offence. So every week she has said basically the same thing : 'We still have not had the confirmation whether the new sentencing rules apply to you' and then I would ask 'Could I be allowed to go back to France' to which she would reply 'We will be able to look into you going back to France when we will know whether the new sentencing rule apply to you'.  

In fact last time I saw her she did not even gave me another appointment but told me she would rang me. She never rang me. So I rang the probation office to be told to wait few more days. This dynamic has been going on for now more than 6 weeks now and might well last another 46 weeks as i believe no one want to engage his responsibility by making a decision one way or another. I believe if I was considered a likely dangerous criminal I would at least have the weekly appointment.

Meanwhile I am without job and with little prospect to find one. I am threatened by the Jobcentre regularly to have my benefit cut in few weeks if I cannot prove that I have reasonable chance to find a job. I have not paid my rent as I am not allowed housing benefit.

So I am sometimes wondering whether it would be better spending 10 month homeless in a foreign country or commit a small offence that would result in me spending some time in prison but then being deported (I am not there yet but any advice for a suitable offence would be welcome as winter is approaching. In fact any suggestion that would help me being deported is welcome) or take a plane to France and try to fight extradition.

I believe it is possible to fight extradition and would welcome any link where I could find more information about it ? Thanks in advance.

You're welcome, Nestor. There is information about the new sentencing rules on the Unlock website here, but your case seems to come down to whether your offence was committed on or after 1st February 2015. If it was, then they apply, if it wasn't then they don't. Of course, if they're not sure, that would cause confusion. If you have more than one offence, and at least one was on or after the relevant date, then the new rules apply.

The problem with the Job Centre is a strange one. They can insist that you actively seek work and that you keep applying for jobs, but not having a reasonable chance of finding a job shouldn't come into it. There are plenty of UK nationals who come out of prison and have no reasonable chance of finding a job, but so long as they follow the rules they are paid. If you are on Universal Credit, the housing benefit should be part of the same claim. If you are on Jobseekers Allowance, the housing benefit depends on your income and assets and is processed by your local authority - the local council. If either of them is treating you differently as a result of your nationality that is against the law. According to the Immigration Rules here, you can only be deported after conviction if the judge recommends it. That sounds like you'd need to do something much more serious than your earlier conviction.

There have been suggestions in the media that the French don't extradite French citizens under the European Arrest Warrant system, but I don't know whether that is actually true. The official procedures allow extradition with no mention of nationality, so it could be risky.

It's probably better to stick to the line about the benefit to reducing re-offending. If there's no point keeping you here any longer, then a Senior Probation Officer has the authority to allow you to leave. 

Thanks again. I understand what you are saying about the 'new sentencing rules' and no matter how clear it seems to be as for today they still have not decided which one applies to me. So my probation officer say we can only start discussing a return in France once we know if the new sentencing rule apply to you.  
What is a Senior Probation Officer and how can I contact one ? As I believe the real problem is that no one is willing to take responsibility to allow me to leave until someone as taken responsibility to decide whether the new sentencing rules apply. 

Hi Nestor, a Senior Probation Officer is the next rank up from your probation officer. Regarding whether they apply the new rules or not, why not print out Unlock's page about the new rules here, and show it to them? Was your offence committed on or after 1st February 2015. The rest should be clear enough not to need questions. If your probation officer is just trying to hide the fact that she doesn't know what to do, seeing it in print should help. If she still doesn't answer, then maybe you should either ask for a different probation officer or ask to see her boss. If you have to do that in writing to get an answer, then so be it. Either way, don't give up, or they'll just keep you hanging on for the 12 months without making a decision.