Lincoln Prison confirms £5,000 taxi bill

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed more than £5,000 was spent on taxis taking Lincoln Prison inmates to a hospital across the road.

Official figures show 940 journeys costing £5,467 were taken from the category B facility to Lincoln County Hospital since November 2006.

A spokesman said taxis were only used when no other transport was available and after a risk assessment.

He added that it would not be appropriate to allow prisoners to walk.

'Massive' spending

The most expensive year was 2008 with £1,873 being spent on 326 trips but this was almost halved the following year.

A spokesman said: "Taxis are not routinely used for transporting prisoners but they are used for exceptional journeys, subject to risk assessment, where prison or other transport is not available or appropriate, and where it is cost-effective to do so.

"In allowing a prisoner to walk to a hospital, this could heighten the risk of a possible escape attempt, could put them at risk of meeting the victim or a member of the victim's family and put them, or a member of staff, in danger of an assault."

The Prison Reform Trust said it was right questions were asked but the prison was following the rules.

Its deputy director Geoff Dobson said: "I can understand they want to avoid prisoners escaping and they want to avoid victims facing prisoners in the walk across the road, so that does justify the expenditure.

"But it is good the question is being asked in the light of the massive amount of money that (the prisons) are spending."

Both the prison and the hospital are on Greetwell Road.

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