Officers ‘not protected’ in open prisons following Paul Robson escape

Paul Robson

Officers ‘not protected’ in open prisons following Paul Robson escape

A prison officer and union representative has stated that officers based in open prisons are “not protected at all”.

Open prisons and their roles have become subject to scrutiny over the last month after convicted dangerous sex offender Paul Robson absconded from HMP North Sea Camp.

He was on the run from Lincolnshire Police for four days after walking out of the prison and stealing a prison bike to aid his escape.

He was the second person to abscond from prison in 2022 on February 13 but according to data over 100 other prisoners have absconded from the same prison in the last ten years.

The 56-year-old was arrested in Skegness and was later charged with absconding from prison and for stealing a prison bike.

He has been issued a court hearing on March 18 but it is highly unlikely Robson will ever be eligible for parole again.

Jackie Marshall, a prison officer with over 30 years who works for the Prison Officers Association told BBC Look North: “They’re not protected at all. At night time they can carry a baton now and that was after a lot of campaigning by the POA.”

She believes there are people being placed in open prisons that shouldn’t be there. When asked if this was putting members of the public at risk, she added: “Yes, because there’s no physical security.”

On the last inspection of HMP North Sea Camp in April 2021, there were 336 prisoners held at the open prison. Over half were convicted of sexual offences, and 70% were presenting a high risk of harm to others.

The Ministry of Justice told BBC Look North: “There was not a single violent incident reported last year at HMP North Sea Camp. Any prisoner who was violent or breached the rules would be returned to close conditions, which means incidents and absconds are rare.”

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.