Day release inmates face probe

THE Prison Service was last night urged to review procedures after it was alleged two inmates committed serious crimes while on day release from a Suffolk jail.

THE Prison Service was last night urged to review procedures after it was alleged two inmates committed serious crimes while on day release from a Suffolk jail.

One prisoner is understood to be facing charges after an alleged incident involving a girl under 18 while he was on day release from Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge.

And it has been claimed another inmate went on a £500,000 crime spree when he was working for a finance company while on day release from the Suffolk jail.

Last night, John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, called for a review of the arrangements for work placements to ensure that inmates were properly supervised.


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He said: "I am very much in favour of open prisons but they must be run in a way which protects the general public.'

In the first case, a prisoner is to appear before magistrates to answer allegations he had sex with a teenage girl while he was on day release.

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The inmate was at Hollesley Bay at the time of the allegations last year and he will appear before magistrates in Ipswich on April 15 to face charges involving a girl under 18.

The middle-aged man, who has not been named, was arrested after an allegation of attempted rape was made by the teenager.

It has not been revealed where the offence was alleged to have occurred but the prisoner had been allowed out of the jail for the day.

In a separate incident police officers are waiting to interview a former Hollesley Bay prisoner who has now been transferred to another prison after it was alleged that he went on a £500,000 crime spree when he was allowed out on day release.

The inmate was given permission to work for a finance company but it was reported yesterday that he had taken the company's bank details and set up an account with a five star hotel where he ran up debts for champagne, meals and call girls.

He also took on a £750-a-week job to work for another financial adviser. Prison staff became suspicious when they found him driving a new £41,000 Volvo 4x4 - and he was found with £100,000 in cash, new clothes and a passport.

Yesterday, Ken Kan, governor of Hollesley Bay, said: ''This guy was here and he was on a paid work placement. We had information that he was up to no good so we sent him back to closed conditions and the police were called to investigate.''

Last year Anne Owers, chief inspector of prisons, issued a report on Hollesley Bay and she called for improvements to the monitoring of paid-work placements undertaken by the prisoners.

She said: ''All work placements should be visited regularly by resettlement staff to ensure that agreed work practices are being followed that prisoners are supported.''

Mr Kan said random checks were being undertaken.

Prisoners are given a temporary licence every time they are allowed to leave the isolated prison on the Suffolk coast. They can undertake paid and voluntary work in the community, perhaps working in hotel kitchens and schools, and they can go out for the day at the weekend.

Up to 7,000 ROTLs (Release On Temporary Licence) are handed out annually after a risk assessment and Ms Owers said there was a very low failure rate. ''The procedures for conducting risk assessments on prisoners were thorough and well documented. Decisions were not taken without information from the home probation area and prisoners were routinely involved in the process,'' she said.

A condition of any authorised licence is that alcohol must not be drunk.

The Prison Service says prisoners need to be allowed to leave the prison to help them with their rehabilitation and to prepare them for going back into society.

For some inmates Hollesley Bay is the last stop on their tour of different types of prisons and it is at Hollesley that they are given training and advice on how to find work and cope with living back in a community.

All prisoners coming to Hollesley Bay have been categorised in band D, the lowest risk.

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