Judge criticises North Sea Camp open prison move

A judge has criticised the decision to hold a man, who was deemed unsafe to be released, in a Lincolnshire open prison - from which he absconded.

Aaron Lee Baggaley was given an indefinite sentence for wounding in 2008 and subsequently refused parole.

Baggaley, 26, formerly of Boston, was then sent to North Sea Camp and given day release.

Judge Sean Morris, jailing him for another six months, said the situation caused him "grave concern".

Baggaley was given the indefinite jail sentence, with a minimum term of 986 days, in January 2008 for offences of wounding and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

'Highly unusual'

After completing the minimum period he was refused parole on the basis he was not safe to be released. He was then sent to the category D North Sea Camp at Freiston near Boston.

On 24 June he walked out but turned himself in almost a month later.

Judge Morris gave Baggaley a six month jail sentence to run concurrently with his indeterminate sentence.

But he added: "What on earth were the authorities thinking about? This was an imprisonment for public protection and he is put in an open prison.

"It gives me grave concern that somebody who has been sent into prison for public protection and who has been denied parole, presumably because it was felt he was not safe enough for release, has then been put in an open prison where day release is allowed.

"I make no other observations than to say it seems highly unusual. Fortunately no harm came to anybody from this. One can only imagine the furore had some harm been caused."

A Prison Service spokesperson said a prisoner's security categorisation was assessed on a number of factors and continually reviewed.

"It will result in a prisoner being located in a prison best suited to meet their security and rehabilitation needs.

"Re-captured absconders will be returned to a more secure closed prison where they face either a criminal prosecution for escaping or an internal adjudication in prison in front of a visiting judge. In both cases they can receive additional time in prison on top of their existing sentence."

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