On Air Now
Heart's Club Classics with Annaliese 7pm - 10pm
23 March 2015, 06:00
Heart can reveal the number of prisoners who have absconded from Hollesley Bay has quadrupled in the last three years.
Figures show 12 inmates failed to turn up to their roll check last year - that's the equivalent of one for every month of the year, and puts the prison as the 9th worst in the country.
In the year 2011/12 three inmates absconded (0.8% of the prison's population), while in 2012/13 the figure was higher - with eight inmates (2%) going on the run. It was 2.7% for last year.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey told Heart: "Nobody wants anybody to go on the run but it's normally people not returning from a day release as opposed to getting out the premesis. That's what's normally the outcome and we (the government) have changed the rules so that if people do abscond, they can't be referred to open prisons again.
"We've got to have open prisons to help people get back into society."
She added that she feels 'confident' that Hollesley Bay has the correct measures in place to prevent absconding.
Last week, a 26 year old man, who is serving a four year sentence for burglary/theft, went on the run and hasn't yet been detained. In January, a man serving an indeterminate sentence for robbery absconded, and was captured a few days later in Hertfordshire.
New measures were introduced last year to increase the punishment for inmates who choose to abscond.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson released the following statement to Heart "Absconds have reached record lows under this Government - falling by more than 80 per cent in the last 10 years - but we have not been complacent and have made major changes to tighten the system.
"Following a comprehensive review we have tightened the eligibility for open prisons and will be bringing in world-leading technology so we can monitor their whereabouts and help lower the numbers further.
"Open prisons and temporary licence are important tools in rehabilitating long-term offenders but they will not be used at the expense of public safety."