London, Nov 30(ANI): At least 200 prisoners in Britain, including murderers and sex offenders, have been mistakenly released by authorities in the past five years, figures released by Justice Minister Maria Eagle revealed.
According to the figures, 200 prisoners had been let out in error between January 2005 and September this year. They included murder suspect Jason Bethell, who was accidentally released from Chelmsford jail in Essex last week.
It also included, thief Terence Clegg, who was freed from Durham jail in October 2008 after being mistaken for his 51-year-old dad Terence Snr, held in the same prison, and, Raheem Ahmed, wrongly freed in Birmingham in August 2007 after serving a week of a six-month sentence for violent affray.
The blunders were blamed on hard-pressed staff in Britain's overcrowded jails not having the time to make proper checks.
"These releases can have devastating consequences. As prisons have become more overcrowded, staff overworked and transfers more frequent, the number of erroneous releases has shot up," The Sun quoted Dominic Grieve, Tory justice spokesman, as saying.This is as a direct consequence of Labour's incompetent mismanagement of the justice system," he added.
Meanwhile, a Prison Service spokesman said: "We have taken action to tighten processes and focus managers' attention. Prisoners released in error are normally returned to custody by the police to continue to service their sentence."
"None of those released in error during 2009 remains unlawfully at large," the spokesman added. (ANI)