FRESH concerns have been raised over the number of people who are absconding from HMP Sudbury, after the latest case brought the number to 10 in a period of just six weeks.
Michael Ossai failed to return to custody last Friday following his release on temporary licence, police reported this week.
He remains at large, along with five other inmates who have skipped out on their sentences since November.
The Ministry of Justice yesterday confirmed that a review was under way at the open prison to see if any changes are needed in the temporary release system, though the spokesman would not say how the investigation was progressing.
He told the Mail: “We’re looking at how the scheme works to see if any changes are needed to make sure the public are suitably protected.”
Three of the prisoners who were at large were behind bars for wounding, several for robbery, and one for manslaughter.
Four of the 10 have now been arrested and are due to be returned to custody. Normally, a prisoner who absconds is not allowed to return to an open prison.
Councillor Albert Catt, who represents Sudbury for Derbyshire Dales District Council, told the Mail he was worried for the impact these repeated absconds would have on the public in general, but that there was no issue in Sudbury.
“I am not worried at all as far as the residents of Sudbury are concerned. The prisoners are absconding whilst they are away from the prison, not from the prison, and when they have absconded, the last place they want to come is Sudbury.
“If I was looking at it from the point of view of the community in general, that’s quite different. One would ask why they are absconding,” he added.
Last year, the Ministry of Justice reported that the level of absconds was at an all-time low.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths has previously called for change at the 581-inmate facility, which aims to rehabilitate prisoners as they come to the end of their sentences.
He said recently: “There is now a worrying pattern of absconding from HMP Sudbury.”