Prison officials have said they are getting tougher on offenders, and deal with those who break the rules ‘severely’.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said the prison service was ‘extremely experienced in managing sex offenders’ such as those now at North Sea Camp in big numbers
They said: “Anyone held in open conditions has been risk assessed as being suitable to be there.”
They added: “Under this government we have really tightened up on privileges for prisoners,with immediate changes to the Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) policy.”
Changes which came into effect on November 1 aimed to make prisoners have to earn ‘privileges’ as opposed to getting them for ‘not being bad’.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “For too long the public has seen prisoners spending their days languishing in their cells watching TV, using illegal mobile phones to taunt their victims on Facebook or boasting about their supposedly easy life in prisons.
“This is not right and it cannot continue.”
Other changes include banning certificate 18 DVDs and subscription channels from all prisons.
Any reports of a drug culture in North Sea Camp are, the Ministry of Justice spokesman said, merely ‘anecdotal’.
The spokesman said: “There are no figures to corroborate this information.
However, drug dealing within prisons is strictly prohibited.
“Those who break the rules will be dealt with severely and no prisoner should be in any doubt that if they are found with drugs illegally that they will be confiscated and reported to the police for further action.
The last independent inspection report, done in September 2012, found the prison was essentially safe and levels of violence were low.
As part of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s investigation into prisons – including a specific case at North Sea Camp – it was announced that ‘day release’ will be scaled back.
There will now be much tighter rules about who is eligible and prisoners will only be allowed out for a specific purpose, such as work experience, and they will have to wear a an electronic tag.
The case at North Sea Camp referred to an absconder accused of committing a sexual assault while on day release.
What’s been said in court:
Here’s a selection of comments made in court cases that have raised questions about North Sea Camp..
* May 26, 2011: Judge Michael Heath said: “The public may be surprised to hear someone sent to prison for indefinite public protection is serving in an open prison.”
* July 6, 2012: Judge Sean Morris told an absconder: “You are not the first person who has come before my court having walked out of North Sea Camp because of problems. I don’t know what is going on there. That is for the prison service to sort out.”
* September 25, 2012: Defence solictor on behalf of absconder: “He feared for his safety. The escape was an impulsive reaction to him struggling with the new circumstances he found himself in.”
* December 13, 2013: Proescution solicitor on absconder who committed rape on day release: “What was on his mind was rape. This time he was prepared and was absolutely determined not to be caught. He thought he could get clean away with it but he was caught red-handed.”
* In response to the case, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling: “This is a truly horrifying case and one that needs to be investigated thoroughly.”
* December 19, 2013: defence solicitor on behalf of absconder: “He said he had told the authorities that he would leave.
“He said the place was full of paedophiles and rapists.”