Urgent overhaul needed of nation’s open prisons, MP claims

Ford Prison''Picture by Louise Adams C130250-1 Bog Prison
Ford Prison''Picture by Louise Adams C130250-1 Bog Prison

THE MP for Littlehampton has slammed the entire open prison system, claiming it is in urgent need of a radical overhaul.

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb has said the Government needs to look at the way prisoners, who are sent to open jails, are risk-assessed.

His criticism follows the escape of two prisoners from Ford Open Prison – inmates police have described separately as ‘dangerous’ and ‘violent’.

Mr Gibb said: “I have become increasingly concerned about the number of prisoners absconding from Ford prison and the nature of the offences of those that are absconding.

“Although in recent years the numbers have fallen, what we are now seeing is the type of prisoners being sent to Ford and absconding are increasingly convicted of violent crimes.

“I think the risk-assessment that has been conducted on who is being sent to Ford is not being properly done.

“The only people that should be sent there are those in the last couple of years of their sentences who wouldn’t have any interest in absconding or those who have been convicted of white-collar crimes.

“But in the space of two months we have had two prisoners – dangerous prisoners – abscond who have committed serious offences.

“That is evidence to me that the wrong people are being sent to Ford Prison and this is something I’m extremely concerned about.”

To see a special report on Ford Open Prison, see this week’s Gazette (Thursday, June 5).