Once again the Mail on Sunday is headlining 4 absconds in a week from Sudbury OPen Prison in Derbyshire. Of course four absconds in such a short time is far too many but as I’ve said in ealier posts the selection procedure for prisoners considered for open conditions is really where the fault lies and that is determined by finance rather than any other reasons. Until the Ministry of Justice gets this right nothing will change. But that’s not really what this post is about.
Iknow it’sthe way things are but why can’t the media focus just for once on the many positives aspects of open prisons?
I have served a sentence, albeit a relatively short one, at Sudbury and I can say from first hand knowledge that there are lots of positives.
Firstly, a number of charity shops in Derby are partly manned by Sudbury inmates. Added up over a year that must equate to thousands of hours. Secondly, a number of local factories and even more so farms rely on the prison for labour. Yes, the men are paid at the going rate. Part of these wages are paid into an account to provide a lump sum to help te guy on his eventual release but a portion of it also goes to the prison to pay for the mans keep thereby redcing the burden on the tax payer. Also very obviously the inmate is being trained in the work ethic, very useful in the case of a large number of prisoners who, before their imprisonment had never worked.
Look at the numbers, in any one year thsands of guys pass through Sudbury. In that period there may be at the outside a hundred or soabsconds, as a percentage the proportion is miniscule.
So get real, cut out the sensationalism and let/s look at things as they really are.

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