Prisoners are remaining driven 200 yards from a large-security jail to court docket mainly because they refuse to use a protected tunnel linking the two, it has been claimed.
The Ministry of Justice has put in thousands and thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash above the earlier 6 yrs on prisoner escort vans to comprehensive the two-moment journey.
Inmates at HMP Belmarsh in south-east London are understood to have complained the tunnel is way too chilly in wintertime. Other folks have objected to possessing to have their belongings on the shorter wander to Woolwich Crown Court.
The MoJ disputed the statements past night time and insisted the tunnel was in ‘constant use’.
Prisoners are being driven 200 yards from a higher-stability jail to courtroom since they refuse to use a protected tunnel linking the two, it has been claimed.
The underground route was made to transport superior-protection prisoners concerning the jail and the court docket advanced subsequent door.
Specifics obtained from the MoJ underneath Flexibility of Data legal guidelines present transport enterprise Serco has been paid for 20,499 safe van journeys concerning the court docket and the prison since the start off of 2016. Although the MoJ refused to disclose the costs paid on industrial grounds, Serco gets a preset selling price for every single van journey, it is recognized. Specialists estimate every single journey is possible to expense a lot more than £100, indicating the price about the past six and a-half years is probable to be effectively above £2 million.
Loading and unloading prisoners on to secure vans also necessitates a series of prolonged checks, taking hours of staff members time. The main gate at Belmarsh is just 180 yards from the protected entrance of the court docket.
The tunnel, which takes a immediate route, is noticeably shorter.
The underground route was manufactured to transport higher-stability prisoners concerning the jail and the courtroom sophisticated upcoming doorway. Pictured: Woolwich Crown Courtroom
Belmarsh houses some of the UK’s most risky terrorists, together with Michael Adebolajo, who murdered fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013 Khairi Saadallah, the Libyan refugee who murdered a few people in a Looking through park in 2020 and Ali Harbi Ali, the killer of MP Sir David Amess.
Most significant-protection terrorism trials take place at Woolwich, which opened in 1993, since it is thought of a lot more protected than the Aged Bailey, crafted in 1902. Just one senior courtroom supply explained inmates experienced complained about the temperature in the tunnel, and the MoJ figures reveal that van journeys are 30 for each cent larger in winter months than they are in the summertime.
Figures peaked in 2017, when 4,325 van journeys took position.
An MoJ spokesman said: ‘These promises are solely phony and the tunnel is in consistent use.’
Some journeys ended up taken by newly sentenced prisoners who had to journey by van because they had been carrying their belongings, it is comprehended. The MoJ was unable to present a breakdown.