In Justice Questions Andy Carter MP asked the Minister of State for Prison and Probation, Victoria Atkins, for an update on work being undertaken by the Ministry of Justice to reduce absconds from open prisons.
The Minister recently visited HMP Thorn Cross to speak with the Governor and has commissioned work to look at the assessments before a prisoner is moved to an open prison to better identify risks.
Andy Carter asked the Minister: "Families living near to HMP Thorn Cross in my constituency have again raised with me concerns about absconds from this open prison. I'm very grateful that the Minister took the time to visit the prison recently.
"I wonder if she could give us an update on what steps the Government are taking to reduce absconds from open prisons?"
In response Victoria Atkins said: "I know the concerns that his community have on this. I, as he rightly says, visited Thorn Cross to see for myself and to ask the Governor what could be done to improve the abscond rate.
"This is an open prison and so it's right that the assessment of risk for each prisoner entering Thorn Cross must be as full as possible to understand whether they may have ties that cause them to abscond from an open prison.
"What I have done is commissioned a further look into the assessments that are conducted nationally to ensure that the team at Thorn Cross are able to manage the people who are staying there as well as possible for the local community."
The Warrington South MP has previously raised the issue of absconds from Thorn Cross Prison with the Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab. The Government recently introduced new ministerial safeguards to block the transfer of a prisoner to an open prison if they are deemed to be at risk of absconding or if their transfer would undermine public confidence in the system.