Community leaders frustrated at the number of prisoners absconding from a Doncaster prison are working on plans to help integrate offenders back into society.
Hatfield Town Council is planning to set up a team to work with HMP Hatfield to organise supervised community working activities for prisoners.
Would people rather see them behind bars or in the community helping to keep it clean and tidy?Hatfield Town Councillor Mick Glynn
It is hoped the move will help reduce the number of prisoners absconding from the open prison – after 18 offenders walked out last year alone.
Hatfield Town Councillor Mick Glynn said of the plans: “These people are going to be out in society soon enough so this would help them integrate back into society in a positive way.
“I think there would be a mixed bag of responses from residents.
“But the fact is these people are coming to the end of their sentence. Would people rather see them behind bars until their last day or in the community helping to keep it clean and tidy?
“We hope this will help reduce the number of offenders walking out of the prison.”
Members of Hatfield Town Council and Hatfield Village Watch are set to discuss the plans at an upcoming council meeting.
The decision comes after two prisoners serving indefinite life sentences absconded from HMP Hatfield earlier this month.
Daniel Bryce, aged 31, and Jeremiah St Phorose, 27, were found nearly two weeks later.
St Phorose was sentenced for offences including burglary and wounding and Bryce for robbery and possession of a firearm.
Residents were angry after police waited 12 hours before issuing an appeal.
Doncaster Superintendent Neil Thomas said: “Time must be taken in the early stages of an investigation to establish all the facts and collate as much information as possible.
“All avenues have to be explored and assessments made to ensure there is an equal balance before a decision is made to release information into the public domain.
“Without fully investigating the incident or taking into consideration the circumstances, the information could cause unnecessary fear and distress and create unwarranted panic.”
Doncaster MP Caroline Flint challenged the Justice Minister over the number of serious offenders walking out of open prisons and met with the prisoner governor to discuss concerns.