Concern over prisoners on the run

ABSCONDERS from a Suffolk jail stay on the run for an average of ten weeks, new figures have revealed.Between 2006 and 2007 absconders from Hollesley Bay prison spent an average of 67 days on the run, an increase of more than three weeks on the 2003/04 average of 43 days.

ABSCONDERS from a Suffolk jail stay on the run for an average of ten weeks, new figures have revealed.

Between 2006 and 2007 absconders from Hollesley Bay prison spent an average of 67 days on the run, an increase of more than three weeks on the 2003/04 average of 43 days.

Hollesley Bay is an open prison for life sentence prisoners at the end of their custodial time as well as young offenders.

The information emerged following a parliamentary question by Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer.


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He said: “I'm really trying to unravel the truth about what is happening at Hollesley Bay and what the government are doing about it.

“If the kind of people being sent to Hollesley Bay are people who ought to be in an open prison you would expect the absconder rates to be nothing like as high as they are.

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“It is reasonable to think that the people they are sending to Hollesley Bay are people they wouldn't have sent in the past because they are not able to find enough space for prisoners in our jails.”

Following a previous parliamentary question tabled by Mr Gummer it emerged that in the past five years more than 130 prisoners have absconded from Hollesley Bay - with more than a dozen never being recaptured.

Those who have absconded were in prison for a variety of offences.

Some 14 of them were serving time for violence-related crime - mostly assault, but also manslaughter, threatening behaviour and threats to kill - plus 28 for burglary, 19 for drugs offences, and 24 for robbery.

Just last month a total of four inmates absconded from the prison.

Responding to Mr Gummer's latest question, Maria Eagle, parliamentary under-secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said: “Averages such as these can be heavily skewed by one or two prisoners remaining at large for long periods.

“For example in 2003-04, four absconds were caught the day they absconded, and in total 28 were recaptured within a month.”

n. Is enough done to prevent prisoners leaving Hollesley Bay? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

2003-04 43

2004-05 50

2005-06 78

2006-07 67

The most recent prisoner to go on the run was Steven Stanley Harris, 35, who was serving eight years for robbery.

He went missing between 8am and 12.30pm on December 23.

Other inmates who absconded in December were Paul Flynn, 21, who was serving a three year and three month sentence for dangerous driving, Edward McDonagh, 34, who was serving a sentence of four years and eleven months for theft of motor vehicles, Gary James, who was serving a six year sentence for burglary.

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