Steve Webb MP concerned over open prisons as rapist absconds

Adam Mark The public are being asked to call 999 if they spot Adam Mark

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An MP has called for tougher rules when vetting prisoners after a convicted rapist absconded for the second time from an open prison.

Adam Mark, described by police as "exceptionally dangerous", was last seen at HMP Leyhill on Tuesday evening.

Thornbury and Yate MP, Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, said: "We need to know the Home Office and Prisons Service are vetting people properly."

The Home Office said those in open prisons were rigorously risk assessed.

Mr Webb said he would write to the Home Office about his concerns in the vetting process.

Life sentence

He said: "I think we need to have another look at the way assessments are done before people are sent to open prisons - this is someone who has already demonstrated once some years ago he couldn't be trusted in open conditions.

Start Quote

This is someone who has already demonstrated once some years ago he couldn't be trusted in open conditions”

End Quote Steve Webb MP

"There should be a much higher test for someone who's shown they can't be trusted before there's even thought of putting them in open conditions again."

In January 2008 Mark, who was jailed in the 1996 for the offences committed in Leeds, walked out from North Sea Camp open prison in Lincolnshire.

Avon and Somerset police have released another appeal for help finding him.

Det Insp Jill Kells said: "Adam Mark is a very dangerous man.

"He is serving a life sentence for a series of stranger sex attacks against women and children as young as 12. He has also carried out robberies to fund his drug habit.

"We know he had started using drugs again before he absconded from prison.

"We are doing all we can to can to locate Adam Mark and return him to prison."

'Low risk'

She said he could still be in Bristol and warned people not to approach him but to call the police instead on 999.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The level of absconding from open prisons in 2012-13 was the second lowest since records began.

"Absconds are still 13% lower than when this Government came to power. We are not complacent about this issue and are looking at ways in which the risk of absconding can be reduced further.

"We are committed to ensuring that risk to the public is minimised.

"All those located in open conditions have been rigorously risk assessed and categorised as being of low risk to the public."

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