27/11/2009

'Get Out Of Jail Free' Raffle Withdrawn

The chance of winning a day out of jail as a raffle prize has been withdrawn after a Governor admitted to knowing nothing about it.

Prisoners at HMP Kirkham, an open prison, near Blackpool, Lancashire, are eligible to enter a £1 draw if they help make a Christmas lunch for elderly people at the nearby Milbanke Day Centre.

The 'day out' prize, which was condoned by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, has angered victim support groups.

A Prison Service spokesman commented: "The governor will consider an appropriate prize for the draw in due course.

"He was not aware that a town visit was being offered as a prize and it has been withdrawn."

He added: "Public protection is our top priority and the rehabilitation of offenders is a vital part of this process.

"All prisoners are rigorously risk assessed before release on temporary licence and no prisoners are released if there are concerns for public safety."

HMP Kirkham is the largest of its kind in the UK. It can house 590 category D "low-risk" prisoners.

(GK/KMcA)

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