MURDERERS should be banned from Ford Open Prison, the village’s MP has told the government.
Nick Gibb urged the minister for policing, criminal justice and victims, Damian Green, to reconsider the policy of sending violent offenders to open prisons.
The issue was back in the headlines this week after armed robber Michael Wheatley, 55, dubbed the ‘Skull Cracker’ absconded from an open prison in Kent on Saturday.
Mr Gibb said: “The government needs to reconsider the policy of moving prisoners serving sentences for violent offences to open prisons.
“Even if these prisoners are coming to the end of their sentence, I do not think it is right for communities like Ford to have to take the risk of having such prisoners in local open prison conditions, where escape is a simple matter of walking along Ford Road.”
He hoped a new policy would exclude prisoners with convictions for violent offences from prisons like Ford from which two convicted murderers absconded last year.
Mr Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, told the Commons on Tuesday: “(Mr Green) will be aware of a pattern of absconding that has taken place in Ford open prison in my constituency, including by Derek Passmore and Paul Flint, both of whom were convicted of murder, and one of whom had already absconded from an open prison.”
Mr Green said: “...we are in the process of making the conditions for those sent to open prisons tougher.” Absconders from open prisons were reducing in number, he said.