International Prisoner Transfer Treaty

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, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands (including Netherlands Antilles and Aruba), Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, 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, Czech Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

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“Introduction to International Prisoner Transfers: Going Home (PDF)

Whether you are a defendant, attorney, inmate, family or friend, The Law Offices of Alan Ellis can provide you with the sentencing, prison or appeal help you need. Contact the firm for a free initial consultation at 855-238-3811or email us at AELaw1@alanellis.com or fill out our intake form and return to us.