Minister grilled over Ford prison concerns

Ford Open Prison
Ford Open Prison

QUESTIONS have been asked of the nation’s prisons minister following the recent absconds from Ford Open Prison.

During justice question time yesterday (Tuesday, July 1), Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb asked prisons minister Jeremy Wright whether the risk-assessment for prospective open jail inmates would be changing.

It comes after Sussex Police revealed they were hunting almost 90 prisons who have fled from Ford’ prison.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Gibb said: “When assessing the number of prison places, will my honourable friend ensure that prison places in open prisons, such as Ford in my constituency, are filled only by prisoners who have been rigorously risk-assessed?

“Does he understand that when prisoners abscond from Ford prison and the police warn the public not to approach them because they are dangerous, that undermines confidence in that risk-assessment process?”

In response to Mr Gibb’s question, Mr Wright said he would be tightening the entire open prison system.

He said: “I do understand that, and of course it is important that we stand behind the principle of open prisons assisting in the rehabilitation of prisoners and making it less risky for the public when they are finally released, but my honourable friend is right that only the right people should be in open prisons.

“We are tightening up the rules on how people move through the system into open prisons.

“We are sending the clearest possible message that prisoners who abscond from their sentence and abuse the trust they were given in an open prison will not get a second chance.”