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POA Press Office:
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POA Press Releases

PR 87 19 May 2014

Another abscond puts public at risk

The POA have again questioned the tick box mentality of the system which places some of the most dangerous prisoners in open prison conditions.

The recent high profile absconds of serious offenders and their alleged criminal activities whilst at large has raised public awareness and put pressure on the Ministry of Justice and NOMS to act.

The POA has been raising concerns for years claiming that the tick box mentality of the current system was not fit for purpose and was playing Russian roulette with public safety.

Leaders of the POA have consistently said that the Open Prison Estate plays a vital role in the rehabilitation of offenders but the current system was not robust enough and put the public at risk.

The POA welcome the comments of Chris Grayling in respect of proposed changes but demand action not words.

Mr. Grayling told Sky News that he would put a stop to day trips for prisoners, that prisoners who absconded would not return to open conditions and that they should only serve the last few months of their sentence in this type of prison.

The POA has welcomed these comments but question whether they will or can be put into action considering the current prison population and staffing crisis.

Mr. Grayling also stated that there was insufficient open prison places for the current prison population, a statement the POA strongly question considering the decision to close Latchmere House in 2012 the most successful open prison at the time and recent prison closures.

The POA has also welcomed the new Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) policy but urged caution on the basis that if this is based on the tick box mentality and not adequately resourced nothing will change. In fact many prison officers believe the new system has the potential to increase the number of absconds.

Again, the POA has welcomed the proposals to introduce the tagging of all offenders released on ROTL but, question why the supervision of these offenders will be passed to the private sector considering the recent debacle on overcharging.
 

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