San Francisco Foreign Inmates Transfer Attorney
International prisoner transfer treaty work for foreign inmates and Americans arrested abroad
In 1977, the United States entered into its first prisoner transfer treaty with a foreign country — Mexico. Under this treaty, Mexicans arrested and imprisoned in the United States could be eligible for transfer to their home country in order to serve out their sentences there. Similarly, Americans arrested in Mexico were eligible to apply to have the remainder of their sentences served in the United States. Over the next 20 years, the United States entered into bilateral prisoner transfer treaties with the following 12 countries: Bolivia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, S.A.R., Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Peru, Thailand and Turkey. In 1985, the United States entered into its first multilateral treaty–the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentencing Persons (or COE Convention). Countries that sign onto this treaty automatically become a signatory to a treaty with the United States which makes their nationals eligible to be transferred back to their countries for the service of the remainder of their sentences. Similarly, Americans arrested and imprisoned in those countries can be eligible for transfer back to the United States for the service of the remainder of their sentences here. The COE Convention is in force in the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatamala, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Mexico, the Netherlands (including Netherlands Antilles and Aruba), Norway (including Bouvet Island, Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land), Palau, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia. Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom (including Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Henderson, Isle Of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena and Dependencies and the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on the Island of Cyprus), Uruguay, Venezuela, and the United States.
In 1995, the United States entered into the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad (or OAS Convention). Other nations which have signed this treaty include: Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraquay, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Not all prisoners from countries with whom the United States has signed a prisoner transfer treaty are eligible for transfer. Similarly, not all U.S. citizens serving time in counties with whom the United States has signed a prisoner transfer treaty are eligible for transfer back to the United States. It is also important to remember that sentences imposed in the United States or abroad may not represent the actual time inmates must serve once they are transferred back to their home countries.
The Law Offices of Alan Ellis, by virtue of its long experience in representing foreign prisoners in the United States and Americans arrested abroad, is well suited to aid prisoners in returning home. The law firm has represented numerous foreign and American inmates throughout the years and has successfully gained their return to their home countries. For further information, read Alan Ellis’s article on An Introduction to International Prisoner Transfers: Going Home and “Americans Arrested Abroad” (PDF).
The Law Offices of Alan Ellis limits its practice to representing federal criminal defendants in plea negotiations, sentencing representation and consultation; Rule 35 Motions; prison designation, transfers, disciplinary matters and other problems; direct criminal appeals; 2255 habeas corpus motions and other post conviction remedies; and international prisoner treaty transfer work for foreign inmates and Americans arrested abroad. Its goal is to secure for its clients the lowest possible sentence, and if it is one of incarceration, to be served at the best possible facility, with release at the earliest opportunity.
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“Americans Arrested Abroad,” ABA Criminal Justice, Summer 2006 (PDF)
For more information about International prisoner transfer treaty representation for foreign inmates and Americans arrested abroad, please contact the Law Offices of Alan Ellis.