Ford prison revelation ‘shocks’ villagers

OUTRAGED residents living near Ford Open Prison have spoken of their concern about the ‘shocking’ level of prisoners absconding from the jail.

Figures revealed by Sussex Police show that the force is hunting nearly 90 inmates who remain on the run.

Sylvana Cotterill, of Apple Tree Walk, Climping, lives a few hundred metres away from the open prison.

The retired 62-year-old said: “I think this is absolutely shocking.

“To have that many prisoners – some of which are convicted murderers and robbers – fleeing is gravely concerning. Something is clearly going wrong with the open prison system. These sort of prisoners should never be jailed at a place like Ford.”

She added: “Considering my family and I live relatively close to the prison, I am concerned about safety.”

Her comments follow in the wake of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb, who earlier this month slammed the entire open prison system. He said that urgent reform was needed to the way the Government risk-assesses prisoners being sent to open jails.Another resident from Climping, who did not want to be named, said he was outraged the public had not been informed sooner about the volume of prisoners fleeing Ford.

“I think it’s disgusting,” said the 25-year-old. “We have the right to know about every single prisoner absconding from Ford – not just the dangerous ones.

“Yes, I do agree with Mr Gibb, something needs to be done urgently to fix the entire open prison system. To have convicted killers at a prison that they can simply walk out of, is a complete joke. They should always be in high-security jails.”