Fewer prisoners have escaped prison during lockdown as they feel safer inside

FEWER lags have escaped prison during the pandemic as they feel safer inside, a report found.

Just four have legged it from one open jail since the first Covid lockdown began in March last year.

That compared with nine who absconded from HMP Kirkham in Lancashire in the months before.

Watchdogs from the Independent Monitoring Board said: “The low number since April reflects the fact that prisoners feel safer in the establishment than out in the community, for now.”

Covid outbreaks in jails have been a major concern, with reports of inmates being locked up in cells for most of the day.

But at Kirkham, staff shuffled use of workshops and moved gym equipment outdoors so prisoners could exercise.

The IMB noted: “This has been a year that has required clear and coherent handling of communications both to staff and prisoners.

“The Governor has shown excellent and indefatigable leadership in ensuring all staff and prisoners were kept safe, as well as fully informed each time quick changes had to be made.”

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