Community leaders on the Fylde coast have today welcomed plans to crack down on crimes committed by prisoners on day release from open jails.
The freedom of inmates at is being scaled back under new rules announced by the Ministry of Justice.
It will mean prisoners will be electronically tagged and more thoroughly risk-assessed before being allowed out on day release.
They will also only be allowed out for specific reasons.
HMP Kirkham, an open prison on Freckleton Road, Kirkham, has seen a number of recent cases of inmates fleeing the jail after being given day release.
Killer Lester Jackson was jailed for life after he bludgeoned an accountant to death during a mugging in 1990.
He absconded from Kirkham in March 2012 when he failed to turn up for a work placement in St Annes and was re-arrested almost a month later in Cumbria.
Another murderer, Brian Lynch, was moved to HMP Kirkham in December 2012 to serve the remainder of his sentence for killing Chi Keung Yip in Clayton Vale in March 1988.
He failed to return to the prison in March last year after he was allowed to visit Preston for the day.
Lynch was missing for five days until he was found at his sister’s home in Manchester.
Lee Moran, 34, left HMP Kirkham at 8am on August 7, 2013 on a day release programme but failed to return that evening.
He was found in St Annes following a month-long search, having lived in a house on Derbe Road.
Coun Liz Oades, Mayor of Kirkham, said: “If it’s a measure which would offer the public more protection, it’s something I have got to be totally in agreement with.
“We have always been given assurances by prison authorities that they send people to us when they are at the end of their sentences, and because they have served a long time they don’t usually abscond unless there is a problem at home.
“On the odd occasion it has happened I have found there’s a problem at home and they have absconded to get home and help.”
Crime campaigner Julie Bascombe, chairman of Revoe Area Forum, said: “It’s something I agree with.
“They are in prison for a reason and when they are let out and do abscond it takes time and money to find them. This has been needed for a long time.
“If you do the crime you should do the time and to me that isn’t having days out when they should be in prison.”
The move comes after the Ministry of Justice cited the case of Ian McLoughlin, who was convicted of murdering Graham Buck in the village of Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire, last July, while on day release.
Prisons minister Jeremy Wright said: “In future when prisoners are let out on licence I want to be sure they are tagged and strictly risk-assessed.”
so we know where they have been and can be sure that they have been tested in the community under strict conditions before being released.”