BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Sunday, 29 June, 2003, 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK
Prison Service defends open jails
Nine out of 10 absconders are recaptured
The Prison Service has defended its record on open prisons after new figures revealed more than 4,000 inmates went on the run in the last five years.

About 480 of the prisoners who fled open prisons since 1998 remain on the run.

About 900 inmates absconded last year alone according to the statistics, released in an answer to a Parliamentary question last week.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said nearly 90% of absconders were recaptured and immediately put back in closed conditions.

"Open prisons have a valuable function as part of the resettlement process," she said.

"A thorough risk assessment is carried out before any prisoner is moved to open conditions."

Kirkham Prison

The report said that Kirkham Prison near Preston saw the most prisoners abscond, with 911 walking out in the last five years.

Fifty-nine remained at large, the News of the World reported.

Meanwhile, 81 inmates have walked out of Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, Suffolk, where disgraced peer Lord Archer has been held.

Wealstun prison, West Yorkshire, has seen 437 prisoners abscond in the five years since 1998, with 57 still not recaptured.

"This is very worrying. We shall be demanding a full statement from the Home Secretary," shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin told the Sunday Express.

"There is no point in having prisons if people simply walk out of them."

Archer moved to open prison
17 Oct 02  |  England
Escaped prisoner arrested
29 May 03  |  Northern Ireland
Thieves break into prison
14 Apr 03  |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific