England

Sixth prisoner on run from Hatfield open prison in Doncaster

  • 1 July 2014
  • From the section England
Mounir Jaouane and Damian Pearson
Image caption Mounir Jaouane was jailed in 2007 for robbery and Damian Pearson was jailed in 2013 for burglary

Six prisoners have gone on the run from a South Yorkshire prison in five weeks.

Burglar Damian Pearson, 24, absconded from HMP Hatfield open prison in Doncaster on Sunday, and Mounir Jaouane, 22, failed to return from temporary licence on Monday.

Since May four other men have fled HMP Hatfield. Three have been re-arrested.

Joe Simpson, of the Prison Officers Association, said many prisoners were absconding because prisons were overcrowded and understaffed.

Pearson, Jaouane, and 43-year-old Darrell Roy Burbeary are still on the loose.

Image caption Darrell Roy Burbeary from Heeley in Sheffield fled the prison during a 30-month sentence for burglary

South Yorkshire Police said Jaouane failed to return to Hatfield after he was released on temporary licence to his former home address in Woodthorpe, Sheffield.

Burbeary, from Heeley in Sheffield, left the prison at 19:20 BST on 15 June while serving a sentence for burglary.

Richard Brown, 27, fled HMP Hatfield on 10 June and was rearrested in Scunthorpe on 12 June; Damien Burns, 39, left on 19 May and was rearrested in Scarborough on 21 May; and Dean Jackson, 27 left on 19 May and was rearrested in Newcastle on 21 May.

Open prisons and temporary licences are intended to integrate offenders back into society.

Mr Simpson said the "wrong type of prisoner" was increasingly being sent to open prisons because the UK prison population was growing.

He said: "They're also cutting staff - Hatfield is currently five staff lower than it should be and they've just been told to send another member of staff to [nearby prison] Lindholme, which is also short-staffed."

After Burbeary escaped in June, Don Valley MP Caroline Flint called for an urgent meeting with justice security Chris Grayling over the "absolutely ridiculous" security breaches.

She said: "Having an open prison in Hatfield has worked well for 17 years, but the truth is in recent years we've had more adult prisoners coming here for the end of their sentence.

"The wrong sort of people are being put in these open establishments."

In a statement the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that the number of absconds had reached "record lows under the current government" and that figures were "down 80% over the last 10 years".

It said Mr Grayling had ordered "immediate and major changes to tighten up temporary release processes and open prison eligibility".

"Open prisons and temporary licence are an important tool in rehabilitating long-term offenders, but not at the expense of public safety," said Mr Grayling.

Image caption Dean Jackson, 27, was awaiting sentence for theft. Damien Burns, 39, known as the "Scarborough slasher", was serving an indeterminate sentence for knifepoint robbery

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