Home Office admits that foreign nationals are being returned to Ford Prison

New figures revealed in a Home Office reply to a question tabled by Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert show that 19 of the 142 foreign national inmates who were removed from Ford Prison in May have been returned to the prison.


Three others were released on completion of their sentences before a transfer to Ford could take place.  A further five foreign national prisoners have been transferred to other open prisons.

Nearly 100 inmates a year walk out of Ford Prison - or two a week.  In a recently leaked memo, Fiona Radford, the Prison Governor, has said that the Home Secretary had "accepted as inevitable" an increased number of absconds as a result of his decision to use open prisons to help ease overcrowding in the prison estate.

The Governor also told staff at the prison that she was "very hopeful that we [Ford Prison] will start to receive larger numbers of foreign nationals again".

Commenting on the return of foreign national prisoners to Ford, Nick Herbert MP said: "The decision to return foreign national prisoners to Ford has been taken behind the back of local residents.

"Since foreign nationals are supposed to be deported at the end of their sentence they have little incentive to remain in an open prison.  It's not surprising that they simply walk out."



Notes to Editors

1. Mr Herbert's Parliamentary Question and the Minister's response are below:

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign national prisoners removed from Ford prison on 26 May (a) have been transferred back to Ford prison and (b) are due to be returned to Ford prison.

Mr. Sutcliffe: The position as of 17 October is as follows. Following thorough individual risk assessments, 19 of the 142 foreign national prisoners who were moved from Ford prison on 26 May 2006 have been returned there, and one is awaiting transfer. Three others assessed as suitable to return to Ford were released on completion of their sentence before the transfer could be effected. A further five prisoners were transferred to other open prisons.

Alexander Black