‘Too many inmates going on the run from Hatfield Prison’

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The man in charge of HMP Hatfield accepts too many prisoners are escaping, according to Don Valley MP Caroline Flint.

Ms Flint and ward councillor Pat Knight met Chris Dyer, Governor of HMP/YOI Hatfield, this week to discuss the recent spate of escapes after six inmates fled the open prison in as many weeks.

In a two hour meeting, they expressed residents’ concerns about safety and discussed what action the prison was taking.

The meeting took place on the day Darrell Burbeary, aged 43, who was serving a sentence for burglary, was recaptured by police after absconding in June.

He was found hiding in a shed in Skye Edge, Sheffield.

Ms Flint said: “It was clear the Governor took the residents’ concerns very seriously and was looking at every action he and his staff could take to reduce absconding.

“He recognised that the numbers absconding were too high.

“The numbers choosing to walk away, despite facing a heavier sentence when they are caught, is not acceptable.

“We were reassured today that all inmates are risked assessed while at Hatfield, and those whose risk of flight increases, for example, because of problems at home, are returned to a closed prison.

“Where prisoners are being recommended as safe to transfer from a secure prison to an open establishment like Hatfield, it is vital that only suitable prisoners are accepted.

“I want HMP/YOI Hatfield to have all the information and time they require to make the necessary checks on each new arrival.”

Coun Knight added: “We were very keen to impress upon the governor how worrying it is for the community to have inmates escaping.

“Many of the staff and prison officers live locally, so they hear those concerns from their neighbours and friends.”

Ms Flint recognised open prisons are different from closed, secure prisons and inmates are often serving the final months of their sentences and many are being prepared for life after prison, and work in the community every day.

She said: “We don’t want that to end. Over half of these prisoners will go into work after leaving prison and 98 per cent will go into settled accommodation.”