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Day release rules for prisoners to be tightened following criticism

Child killer Alan Giles escaped from prison last year Credit: West Mercia Police

The Ministry of Justice is set to tighten rules on day release from prisons following a series of offenders committing serious crimes - or even absconding from jail - whilst away from prisons.

Birmingham child killer Alan Giles was among the offenders who went on the run, prompting the rethink from the Ministry of Justice.

Giles, 56, was serving two life sentences for the kidnap and murder of 16-year-old Birmingham student Kevin Rickets in 1995 when he went missing last year.

He was captured after nine days and returned to HMP Hewell near Redditch.

Prisons minister Jeremy Wright said the system had been too lax up until now:

"We’re not prepared to see the failures of last summer repeated and public safety compromised.

“Temporary release can be an important tool in helping offenders reintegrate but it should not be an automatic right."

Day release prisoners will now only be allowed out for a specific purpose such as gaining work experience and will also have to wear electronic tags, once technology is made available.

Private jail 'of serious concern'

HMP Oakwood in the West Midlands. Credit: PA Wire

The Government has "serious concerns" over the performance of a private prison in the West Midlands, new documents have shown.

Out of 134 prisons in England and Wales, only three were rated "of serious concern" by the Ministry of Justice.

The private jail, HMP Oakwood in the West Midlands, operated by G4S, was one of them.

The poor ratings come just after G4S were criticised for overcharging the MoJ for electronic tagging of criminals, leading to a Government-wide review of all contracts held by the FTSE 100 giant.

The ratings prompted more calls for Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to reconsider his plans to privatise a large chunk of the Probation Service, under what he has dubbed a "rehabilitation revolution".


Autistic teen prisoner wins damages

An autistic teenage prisoner who was left distressed and intimidated by noisy adult criminals at a magistrates court has won the right to damages from the Ministry of Justice, reports Strand News.

The Birmingham boy, now 15, was at the Birmingham court for a hearing over an alleged breach of bail - but had to be put into an adult cell because the children's area was being refurbished.

It left the then 13-year-old "incredibly distressed" by the shouts of angry cons and having to walk closely past two adult prisoners on his way to an interview room. His lawyers claimed that putting him near adult prisoners in the cells area at the court breached both UK and European laws.