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Kirkham And Wealston Prisons

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the number of prisoners absconding from Kirkham and Wealston Prisons. [125561]

Significant efforts are being made across the prisons estate to reduce the number of absconds. This includes improvements to prisons' physical conditions, and the provision of better regimes with more purposeful activity.At Kirkham prison an Abscond Prevention Group is examining and introducing a range of measures including: improved fence patrols; the feasibility of infra-red cameras; improvements to the establishment's intelligence systems with additional staff being used in the sifting and collation of intelligence data; and improved communications with the police.At Wealstun, lighting and cameras covering the establishment's boundaries have been increased and staff are also working to ensure that reception procedures are strengthened, with induction interviews taking place prior to the prisoner's first night at the prison, in order to help prisoners settle in as quickly as is possible. Efforts are also being made to replace any old or sub-standard accommodation.