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Ford prison riot puts spotlight back on open jails

Violence broke out at Ford open prison, West Sussex, on New Year's Day, with fire destroying buildings and staff taking almost 22 hours to bring the situation under control.

Open prisons have long been controversial, with critics targeting their more relaxed security regimes which involve inmates wandering freely and often living in single rooms with their own keys.

Classed as Category D, for prisoners whom the authorities least expect to escape, they generally house prisoners who are approaching release and white-collar criminals jailed for crimes like fraud.

However, those convicted of serious crimes including murder and rape - but assessed as low risk - can also spend time in open prisons towards the end of their sentence.

The role of open prisons came under scrutiny in 2006, when the Prison Service admitted some 700 offenders had absconded from the sites in a year.

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Added: Jan-3-2011 Occurred On: Jan-1-2011
By: Zurm
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Tags: Ford, prison, riot, open, jails
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