Governor of Ford prison says prison has 'increased security'

THE Governor of Ford Open Prison, Fiona Radford, has expressed disappointment about an independent report which claimed that lax security at the prison allowed inmates to sneak out at night to buy alcohol and drugs.

The report said that prisoners found it 'relatively easy' to leave the prison and only six staff were on duty at night to watch more than 500 mostly white collar criminals on a 100-acre site.

It said some convicts arranged for drink and other banned items to be left just outside the perimeter for collection, and that last year staff discovered a stash of 30 bottles of vodka and the report said such finds were 'not uncommon'.

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It addd:"The main security problems were the smuggling of alcohol, drugs and mobile phones in to the prison.

"The size of the site and low staffing level at night meant that it was relatively easy for prisoners to leave residential areas at night and return with alcohol and other contraband purchased locally or left on the edge of the perimeter by accomplices."

Fiona Radford said: "I am disappointed at the lack of acknowledgement by the inspectors of significant improvements that have been made at Ford in terms of resettlement of prisoners.

"The unannounced inspection too place during October half-term and the inspectors could not get all the information they needed and could only report on what they had.

"There has been an increase in qualifications achieved by prisoners, an improvement in training and work opportunities during the last few years and a significant reduction in absconds, clearly pointing to improved security."

For full story about Ford, see West Sussex Gazette May 13