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Hollesley Bay defended by inmate

PUBLISHED: 13:45 25 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

A PRISONER who has just been released from a life sentence has defended the under-fire Suffolk jail he spent 15 months at.

Investigations have been held at Hollesley Bay Prison, near Woodbridge, after 17 prisoners absconded from the open unit in just over two years, including seven murderers.

A PRISONER who has just been released from a life sentence has defended the under-fire Suffolk jail he spent 15 months at.

Investigations have been held at Hollesley Bay Prison, near Woodbridge, after 17 prisoners absconded from the open unit in just over two years, including seven murderers.

Last week, robber Stof Rachide was jailed for 11 years after he committed up to 22 armed raids across London after fleeing Hollesley in July last year.

But Ted Moore, a "lifer" who was stationed at Hoxon House in the open unit, praised the prison and its staff in a letter to Jane Stearn, chairman of the prison's board of visitors, shortly before his release last month.

Mr Moore, who had been at five prisons during his 12-year stay in jail, said his 15 months at Hollesley Bay had been "remarkably trouble-free" with staff always willing to listen to complaints or help to resolve problems.

He was given a job within the prison upon his arrival in March 2001 and the held the post until his release, although it became part-time when he secured a job outside the prison after eight months, on the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) scheme.

"Now that I am being released, I find that I have only happy memories of my time at 'The Bay'," he added.

The open unit at Hollesley, which houses more than 300 inmates, has a unit for adults who are serving life sentences and can take up to 36.

They will have been classified as a Category D prisoner by the governor at their previous jail and sent to Hollesley, considered suitable for living in open conditions.

The former prisoner said he felt many inmates were "obviously under-prepared" for the fact they will be expected to use their own initiative at an open prison.

He wrote: "Having seen some of the recent letters written to the local newspaper, I feel that they do tend to portray a totally false impression of what an open prison is intended for and would remind you that those troubled individuals are probably incapable of coping without a nanny to hold their hands and guide them through life."

Mr Moore added: "I trust that this letter will show you that it is possible to get through one's Category D at Hollesley Bay Colony if one is willing to put in some personal effort, to use one's initiative and think positively."

Mrs Stearn has said she believes prison staff "are doing a good job" and the jail's performance is "up to scratch".

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