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Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners at HM Prison Ford (a) escaped, (b) absconded and (c) failed to return in each month since 1 January 2007; what category of offences had been committed by each of those prisoners; what the term of custodial sentence was of each; on what date each (i) left and (ii) was returned to prison; and what sanction was imposed on each. 
Maria Eagle: The tables show the numbers of prisoners, by month and by index offence, who have absconded from, or failed to return to Ford prison between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009. No prisoner has been classified as escaping from Ford over this time period.
Prisoners who escape or fail to return from temporary release are usually re-captured quickly and returned to a closed prison. Currently 96 per cent. of all prisoners who abscond are returned to custody. Both types of unlawful absence from the prison are criminal offences and prisons, police and the Crown Prosecution Service work together to pursue such crimes through the courts where this is appropriate. Alternatively, the prisoner may be dealt with by way of internal adjudication and may receive additional days in prison as a result of this. Details of the sanctions imposed are not held centrally and could only be obtained by identifying and contacting each closed prison where a former prisoner from Ford had been returned; this would incur disproportionate cost.
Absconds and temporary release failures have been very successfully reduced year on year. Last year, to 31 March 2009, was the lowest level of absconds since central records began. The current year, to 31 March 2010, is forecast to produce an even lower level of absconding, both nationally across England and Wales, and at Ford.
The following table shows the number of absconds from HMP Ford over the last 12 years. With one month remaining in the year, the position at Ford reflects the national picture and shows that this year is set to be the lowest level of absconds at the prison on record.
|Number of absconds HMP Ford|
|Table 1a: Absconds from HMP Ford 2007 by month and by index offence|
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