To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have (a) escaped and (b) absconded from prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 12 months. 
The Public Service Agreement target for escapes was published in 'Public Services for the future: Modernisation, Reform, Accountability'.The target was to maintain existing performance of no escapes by high risk (category A) prisoners and to ensure that the number of escapes from prisons, and escorts undertaken by Prison Service staff, expressed as a proportion of the prison population, is lower than 0.05 per cent.The Prison Service met this target for 2002–03. There were five escapes from prisons and no category A escapes in 2002–03.The table illustrates the number of escapes from prison and absconds broken down by month in the last 12 months.
|Month||Escape from prison||Number of absconds|
Escape from prison
Number of absconds
The Prison Service definition of an abscond is when a prisoner leaves an open/Category D establishment where there is no physical barrier between them and freedom.