Tough new sanctions have been introduced for prisoners leaving HMP North Sea Camp on day release and licence, it has been revealed.
The Category D Prison has altered it rules allowing inmates out into the community so they cannot leave until their earliest possible release date.
It comes following a number of absconds at the open prison, including the case of Ivan Leach, a dangerous prisoner who was on the run for over a month. However, the Ministry of Justice has said the change was not forced by these incidents.
A spokesman told The Standard the decision had been made following a review of practice at the prison which took place in the summer. Reviews take place regularly, she added.
It means some inmates will not be able to leave the prison until up to two years after they have arrived, for what is often the last leg of their sentence.
An exception will be made for those requiring urgent medical care, but each case will be judged individually, the spokesman said.
She added: “There has been no change to medical access for prisoners.
“We have a duty of care to those sentenced to custody by the courts.”
Prisoners at HMP North Camp are being offered help to watch their waistlines in a weekly weight club. Inmates will be given advice on leading a healthy lifestyle and managing their weight, while attending formal weekly weigh-ins,
The annual budget for healthcare at the prison is £257,000, which is used to fund on-site services. Extra funding is available for mental helth services.
The facility, which has capacity for 378 people, is currently over-subscribed by 42 inmates.