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Prisoner Escapes

Justice written question – answered on 10th September 2013.

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Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Shadow Minister (London), Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) how many escaped prisoners since 1997 escaped from (a) public prisons, (b) private prisons, (c) courts, (d) secure hospitals, (e) prisoner transit and (f) other areas;

(2) for how long each escaped prisoner has been at large; from what category of prison each such prisoner escaped; and for what offence they were imprisoned.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The total number of escapes from custody has been falling since 1995 when central records began, despite an increasing prison population.

Numbers of escapes from prisons, contractor escort, prison escort and of Category A prisoners are published annually by financial year and establishment on the website. Details of the number of escapes from 1995-96 to 2012-13 can be found at the following link.

Details of individual offences and the period spent unlawfully at large for all prisoners who have escaped are not held centrally in a form that can be interrogated readily. To provide these details would require manual interrogation of different sets of electronic records which would be at disproportionate cost.


1. Escapes from contractors’ escorts include those occurring at court and in transit.

2. Escapes occurring from prison escort may also occur in transit or at the destination of the escort e.g. hospital out-patients of accident and emergency units. The exact location of these escapes could be obtained only by manual interrogation of the electronic incident reports which would be at disproportionate cost.

3. Escapes from secure hospital are the responsibility of the Department of Health and are therefore not included in these statistics.

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