Number of absconders down at prison

MORE sophisticated measures to prevent prisoners absconding have helped reduce the number of inmates escaping from Hollesley Bay, it was claimed today.

Naomi Cassidy

MORE sophisticated measures to prevent prisoners absconding have helped reduce the number of inmates escaping from Hollesley Bay, it was claimed today.

Statistics released following a Freedom of Information request show that 19 people disappeared from the open prison in 2008.

However one prisoner, who was in custody for a breach of suspended sentence, is still at large.

There have also been four absconders so far this year.

In 2004/5 there were 32 inmates escaped from Hollesley, however this dropped to just 16 the following year.

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In 2006/7 there were 21 absconders but the figures decreased last year.

The Ministry of Justice claims national figures for the numbers of absconders is at its lowest since records began in 1995.

A spokeswoman said: “Prisons can and do take a variety of actions to try to reduce absconds.

“Open prisons operate intelligence systems to try to spot those who might be planning to abscond; prisoners are screened and those who are at significant risk of absconding are sent back to closed conditions; in many areas the prison, police and Crown Prosecution Service are working together to prosecute absconders to provide a deterrent to others who may be thinking of doing the same.

“The risk assessment process for open conditions is stringent - and becoming more sophisticated at assessing risk. As a result, abscond rates are falling and are at the lowest levels since records began.

“Public protection is paramount and prisoners are returned to closed conditions if risk assessments indicate likely non compliance.”

All absconds are reported to the police and the escapees can be charged. A number of prisoners have also ended up receiving additional custodial sentences.

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