Mark Menzies demands Government action on Kirkham Prison

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has demanded the Government take action to ensure only suitable prisoners are sent to HMP Kirkham.

He wrote to ministers following the publication of the HMP Kirkham Independent Monitoring Board Annual Report which highlighted several areas of concern at the open prison.

Mr Menzies said: “I have written to the Secretary of State for Justice asking him to look into the matter personally, rather than pass it on to the prisons minister, because the report highlights issues across the entire judicial system.

“I am not prepared to allow any failings to put highly-dedicated prison officers and my constituents at risk.”

The report revealed three serious incidents at the prison in the past 12 months which required the opening of the command suite and the attendance of the board. The incidents were put down to the ‘volatile’ mix of prisoners in the facility.

The report also highlighted some 36 absconds in the year, double the 18 of the previous 12 months. The reason given was the unsuitability of many of the prisoners arriving at Kirkham.

The availability and use of drugs was also reported to have escalated in the past 12 months, which the report states is down to unsuitable prisoners being allowed to go out on community placements and not enough checks being made when they return.

Mr Menzies said: “I have written to the Secretary of State for Justice to ask for urgent action to be taken.

“It is clear from the report there are failings across the judicial system which have led to a rise in the number of unsuitable prisoners being sent to an open facility, and a rise in absconds.

“Residents must have confidence in the security of the prison. Action must be taken to ensure their safety, and to ensure the prison has all of the staff and resources it needs.

“I previously wrote to the Governor of the prison to raise concerns from residents over the number of absconds and was assured they were isolated incidents and that these prisoners were no longer deemed a threat to the public. I was also told of the rigour with which prisoners residing at the Category D prison are assessed prior to their stay.

“These assurances do not appear to be supported and this report has highlighted several serious failings. These failings do not lie solely with the management team at Kirkham and must be addressed across the judicial system, including ensuring only suitable prisoners are sent to Kirkham.”