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Tightened rules on open prisoners welcomed

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 10, 2014

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PLANS to limit the freedom of inmates at an open prison near Burton have been described as ‘long overdue’.

Rules regarding prisoners on temporary release are to be tightened by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in reaction to number of crimes being committed by inmates while out.

Prisoners will only be allowed out for specific reasons, and will also be thoroughly risk-assesed and electronically tagged before the gates are opened.

Sudbury Open Prison has been plagued by absconders over the past year, with many seizing the opportunity to flee while on temporary release.

The Mail reported last month that Daniel Walker had been on the run for almost a year after not returning from a spell on temporary release.

The 28-year-old, originally from Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, had originally been jailed for a violent robbery.

The situation at the prison became so bad that Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths waded into the row and demanded its security measures be reviewed.

He today welcomed the changes and said he hoped it would help to reduce the number of inmates who are absconding.

The MoJ said that prisoners eligible for release on temporary licence would have to earn it by demonstrating the ‘right behaviour and a commitment to change’.

Mr Griffiths said: “This is a vital and long overdue reform and something I have been pushing for quite some time.

“We all recognise the value of prison release and allowing those in prison to re-engage with the community. However, in my view the rules in place are lax and the candidates are not being properly scrutinised before being allowed this privlidge.

“We have seen locally the impact of people absconding an failing to return. I think the local community around the prison will be relieved the system is being tightened up.”

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