The ArgusNinety prisoners on the run from Sussex jail (From The Argus)

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Ninety prisoners on the run from Sussex jail

The Argus: Ninety prisoners on the run from Sussex prison Ninety prisoners on the run from Sussex prison

Ninety prisoners are on the run from an open jail, including some who have been missing for years, it has been revealed.

HMP Ford near Arundel has been at the centre of a number of high-profile cases recently.

This week it emerged that a public appeal by Sussex Police to help trace murderer Robert Donovan, 57, had only been made four years after he walked out from Ford.

The disclosure that 90 Ford inmates are at large comes as it emerged that violent robber Simon Rhodes-Butler, 37, handed himself into police last night after fleeing from the jail last month.

And in another case, it was revealed last night that an armed robber serving a life sentence has become the latest criminal to go on the run from HMP Ford.

David Blood, 48, who police said may pose a threat to the public, absconded from the Category D prison some time between 8.30am and 1pm yesterday.

It is thought to be the second time he has absconded from an open prison after going missing from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire in April 2012.

Conservative MP, Nick Gibb, for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, has raised concern at the number of inmates convicted of serious offences going missing from HMP Ford.

He said: "I'm worried about how prisoners are chosen to be sent to Ford open prison, and that too many are absconding.

"The theory is that these are prisoners who are coming to the end of their sentences and therefore should no longer be at risk of absconding.

"The risk assessment of prisoners who are being sent to Ford open prison is clearly not vigorous enough."

Sussex Police said the average number of prisoners who have absconded from HMPFord in recent years stands at 23 annually, but that currently 90 are at large.

A police statement said they found in November that there were a number of missing inmates whose cases were not being reviewed regularly.

It said: "A dedicated team was set up to review each of those cases to try to identify lines of inquiry that we could follow to try to track the absconders down.

"Each of the absconders was registered on the Police National Computer as being missing so if they had been arrested for any offences in Britain they would have been returned to custody and we would have been notified.

"The new team is making inquiries with other forces both locally and internationally, speaking to Government agencies to look for evidence of where they have lived and following up sightings or other information passed to us as a result of their reviews of the files.

"Our intelligence-led investigations are aimed at returning the person to the prison system as quickly as possible and in some cases this can be within hours.

"We risk assess and prioritise our investigations accordingly following close liaison with local officers and the prison.

"Since the team was set up in November, a total of 23 absconders from Ford have been located and arrested.

"We decided to make a public appeal for Robert Donovan as although we had no information that he was an immediate danger to the public, his original crime was so serious that it was important for him to be returned to custody as a priority.

"In recent years an average of 23 prisoners have absconded from Ford annually. There are currently 90 people missing from Ford.

"Some have been missing for a matter of weeks but others have been missing for a number of years. We are focused on returning each and every one of those people to prison."

The Ministry of Justice said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has ordered major changes to tighten up temporary release processes and open prison eligibility.

It was the case of "Skullcracker" Michael Wheatley which prompted ministers to launch a major review of the case, including a broader assessment of the release on temporary licence (ROTL) process.

He was jailed for life for a raid on a building society while on the run from HMP Standford Hill in Kent, the second time he has been jailed for holding up the same branch.

Most recent Ministry of Justice figures show there were 1,242 indeterminate sentenced prisoners - that is, those serving life and imprisonment for public protection sentences (IPP) - as at December 31 last year. This includes 643 lifers and 599 IPP inmates in open prisons.

Comments (16)

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11:03am Fri 13 Jun 14

VoodooGangbanger says...

I got a idea, why not put a lock on the prison, and maybe some metal bars.
I got a idea, why not put a lock on the prison, and maybe some metal bars. VoodooGangbanger
  • Score: 19

11:16am Fri 13 Jun 14

BlackRocker says...

I guess now we all know why it is called an 'open' prison.
I guess now we all know why it is called an 'open' prison. BlackRocker
  • Score: 12

12:33pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Goldenwight says...

Headline got me a bit worried- thought there had been a mass jailbreak!

"It is thought to be the second time he has absconded from an open prison after going missing from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire in April 2012."

Hang on- if someone absconds or breaks the rules at an open prison, they are sent back to a Category C or above prison to complete their sentence. They are NEVER sent to an open prison again under any circumstances. This is a hard and fast rule- how come this guy was allowed bo break it? THERE is something for the Argus to investigate, rather than picking up stories of the BBC News website...
Headline got me a bit worried- thought there had been a mass jailbreak! "It is thought to be the second time he has absconded from an open prison after going missing from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire in April 2012." Hang on- if someone absconds or breaks the rules at an open prison, they are sent back to a Category C or above prison to complete their sentence. They are NEVER sent to an open prison again under any circumstances. This is a hard and fast rule- how come this guy was allowed bo break it? THERE is something for the Argus to investigate, rather than picking up stories of the BBC News website... Goldenwight
  • Score: 13

12:37pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Joshiman says...

Is this a coalition in joke??
Is this a coalition in joke?? Joshiman
  • Score: 7

12:53pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Gary1965 says...

Only 90?? Just shows how useless our prisoners are at escaping from a jail with no locks.
Only 90?? Just shows how useless our prisoners are at escaping from a jail with no locks. Gary1965
  • Score: 11

2:19pm Fri 13 Jun 14

markiemark2013 says...

Gary1965 wrote:
Only 90?? Just shows how useless our prisoners are at escaping from a jail with no locks.
A daft comment - given the turnover of inmates at Ford, it says a huge amount that only 90 have absconded. The vast majority of people there want to serve their sentences to completion and work towards release, if possible on HDC, as soon as possible. People abscond for many reasons....and yes, some people are just plain bad, but to make comments like that, based on absolutely no knowledge of the criminal justice and prison system, is just a sign of people's lack of intellect.
[quote][p][bold]Gary1965[/bold] wrote: Only 90?? Just shows how useless our prisoners are at escaping from a jail with no locks.[/p][/quote]A daft comment - given the turnover of inmates at Ford, it says a huge amount that only 90 have absconded. The vast majority of people there want to serve their sentences to completion and work towards release, if possible on HDC, as soon as possible. People abscond for many reasons....and yes, some people are just plain bad, but to make comments like that, based on absolutely no knowledge of the criminal justice and prison system, is just a sign of people's lack of intellect. markiemark2013
  • Score: -14

3:52pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

There is more security at Butlins than at Ford.
There is more security at Butlins than at Ford. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 9

4:44pm Fri 13 Jun 14

ajpj says...

I wonder how many of these are men that have gone over the wire on the "booze run", when seen by the fence, no attempt is made to recapture them at all .. in fact .. they are told to F/off & hand themselves in at a police stn .. this has been going on for years .... The booze, cigarettes etc ? you've guessed it ... it disappears Don't know if they still have a P/officers social club, but it used to be the cheapest place to get a drink in England.
I wonder how many of these are men that have gone over the wire on the "booze run", when seen by the fence, no attempt is made to recapture them at all .. in fact .. they are told to F/off & hand themselves in at a police stn .. this has been going on for years .... The booze, cigarettes etc ? you've guessed it ... it disappears Don't know if they still have a P/officers social club, but it used to be the cheapest place to get a drink in England. ajpj
  • Score: 1

4:52pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Gary1965 says...

markiemark2013 wrote:
Gary1965 wrote:
Only 90?? Just shows how useless our prisoners are at escaping from a jail with no locks.
A daft comment - given the turnover of inmates at Ford, it says a huge amount that only 90 have absconded. The vast majority of people there want to serve their sentences to completion and work towards release, if possible on HDC, as soon as possible. People abscond for many reasons....and yes, some people are just plain bad, but to make comments like that, based on absolutely no knowledge of the criminal justice and prison system, is just a sign of people's lack of intellect.
.....and this week's Sense Of Humour Failure award goes to.....
[quote][p][bold]markiemark2013[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gary1965[/bold] wrote: Only 90?? Just shows how useless our prisoners are at escaping from a jail with no locks.[/p][/quote]A daft comment - given the turnover of inmates at Ford, it says a huge amount that only 90 have absconded. The vast majority of people there want to serve their sentences to completion and work towards release, if possible on HDC, as soon as possible. People abscond for many reasons....and yes, some people are just plain bad, but to make comments like that, based on absolutely no knowledge of the criminal justice and prison system, is just a sign of people's lack of intellect.[/p][/quote].....and this week's Sense Of Humour Failure award goes to..... Gary1965
  • Score: 7

7:24pm Fri 13 Jun 14

Sussex jim says...

It seems that Ford prison is as open as the country of France; and other EU countries that non-EU people can enter in order to make their way to Calais in an attempt to enter Britain illegally.
It seems that Ford prison is as open as the country of France; and other EU countries that non-EU people can enter in order to make their way to Calais in an attempt to enter Britain illegally. Sussex jim
  • Score: 1

8:15pm Fri 13 Jun 14

melee says...

So at what point does someone in charge realise that the system ain't working? Open prison seems to amount to a place where 'prisoners' can get free bed and board while still going about their daily lives as they please, until such time as they get a better offer and don't bother to come back.
So at what point does someone in charge realise that the system ain't working? Open prison seems to amount to a place where 'prisoners' can get free bed and board while still going about their daily lives as they please, until such time as they get a better offer and don't bother to come back. melee
  • Score: 7

8:17am Sat 14 Jun 14

Sir Prised says...

Our so-called justice system si a complete joke.
Our so-called justice system si a complete joke. Sir Prised
  • Score: 6

8:46am Sat 14 Jun 14

Juleyanne says...

Must be a lot of nervous residents and property for sale around this joke of a jail.
Must be a lot of nervous residents and property for sale around this joke of a jail. Juleyanne
  • Score: 6

10:49am Sat 14 Jun 14

Gary1965 says...

Juleyanne wrote:
Must be a lot of nervous residents and property for sale around this joke of a jail.
Yes...I wonder how many prisoners are renting out their cell?
[quote][p][bold]Juleyanne[/bold] wrote: Must be a lot of nervous residents and property for sale around this joke of a jail.[/p][/quote]Yes...I wonder how many prisoners are renting out their cell? Gary1965
  • Score: 0

11:32am Sat 14 Jun 14

wippasnapper says...

Back many years ago a days passionate release would have been accompanied by a guard but these days it appears we just let them out without a tag to keep an eye on there whereabouts are yes relax the laws reduce your staffing levels but when the a Prisoner walks there’s a problem with the way the prison services operate regardless of the fact that there services have been cut but still expected to carry out the same level they hade on a full staffing level i.e. all Prisoners being let out on a day release should be tagged and any Prisoners being allowed close to the exits
Back many years ago a days passionate release would have been accompanied by a guard but these days it appears we just let them out without a tag to keep an eye on there whereabouts are yes relax the laws reduce your staffing levels but when the a Prisoner walks there’s a problem with the way the prison services operate regardless of the fact that there services have been cut but still expected to carry out the same level they hade on a full staffing level i.e. all Prisoners being let out on a day release should be tagged and any Prisoners being allowed close to the exits wippasnapper
  • Score: -2

11:49pm Sat 14 Jun 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Absolute proof that this holiday camp should be closed down
Absolute proof that this holiday camp should be closed down getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

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