PLANS to expand North Sea Camp open prison have been given the go-ahead.
The prison applied to transform three semi-detached houses, previously used for people with special needs, in Croppers Way, Freiston, to be used as secure residential accommodation for approximately 40 prisoners reaching the end of their sentence and due for parole.
It will be known as the Jubilee House Resettlement Unit.
A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesman said: “The accommodation will be at low risk to prepare the offenders to get back into the local community.”
The spokesman added that it will help offenders who have been institutionalised to avoid the ‘culture shock’ of being released and will provide the skills to adapt to life outside prison.
It will also create up to five new jobs at the prison.
The prisoners will carry out the maintenance, repair and decoration work needed to the houses themselves.
Although several nearby residents said they had had no problems with prisoners, other concerns have been raised about the plans including worries about the types of prisoners living there.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous said she is worried about increased noise while David Smith, of Fishtoft, said he is concerned about the safety of his children.
He said: “It just beggars belief that this can be allowed, what will happen if a sex offender is put in one of the houses and then assaults a child. Who will take the blame for ruining a child’s life and what checks will be made on prisoners prior to being placed in these houses?”
However, Kate Dawson of Croppers Lane said: “They’re down there anyway. They have got to go somewhere basically. We have them up and down the street on their bikes - they always wave.”
Steve Knox, chairman of the prison’s Independent Monitoring Board, stressed prisoners would sign a contract.
He said: “There will be no second chances, it’s one chance or you go.”
The MoJ spokesman also reassured residents that offenders going into the houses would undergo strenuous risk assessment and that the security in the accommodation will be at the same level as the rest of the prison.
Boston Borough Council leader and ward member Coun Peter Bedford said the homes were formerly used by the Prince’s Trust for disabled children to enjoy nature events.
He said: “I don’t have any concerns with it. Obviously the prisoners they put in there are the more trusted ones.
“As a parish we have been expecting that this would happen.
“The parish council don’t get any complaints or problems.”
The buildings were originally built in the late 1960s as part of a larger complex of prison officer’s accommodation.