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 (COE Convention). All countries (including non-European ones) 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. For example, in 1999 Israel signed on and thus became in treaty status with the United States, both of which are non-European countries. 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.
Also, in 1995, the United States entered into the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad (OAS Convention). Other non-North, Central, South American and Caribbean nations which have signed this treaty include Czech Republic, India, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Slovak Republic.
Thus countries with Prisoner Transfer Treaties with the United States now in effect are: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, 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, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemborg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands (including Netherland Territories: Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad/Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (including United Kingdom Territories: Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Monserrat, Sovereign Base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in the Island of Cyprus, St. Helena and St. Helena Dependencies, British Indian Ocean Territory, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Henderson Island, Pitcairn, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Isle of Man), Uruguay, Venezuela.
“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 international prisoner transfer help you need. Contact the firm for a free initial consultation at 415-895-5076 or email us at AELaw1@alanellis.com.