A prisoner at HMP Northumberland escaped from his cell after ‘kicking out’ several breeze blocks, in an incident described as something out of hit jail-break film The Shawshank Redemption.
Our source, who did not want to be named, said the offender had managed to free himself from the cell in the segregation wing at the Acklington facility on the night of Monday, July 13.
The insider claims that prison officers were aware of a commotion inside the cell, located in the care and separation unit, but were unable to act immediately because there weren’t enough staff.
Once reinforcements arrived and officers were able to enter the cell, they found it was empty and the prisoner was walking around outside the unit.
Private firm Sodexo Justice Services, which acquired operational responsibility of the Category C prison in December 2013, admitted a prisoner did escape the cell, but was contained within a secure compound.
Our source said: “I couldn’t believe it. It was like something out of the Shawshank Redemption. It looks like he has scraped at the blocks and then kicked them out. One of the concerning things is what has he used to scrape away at the blocks – it certainly isn’t a toothbrush! He must have used a metal object.”
On the staffing issue, the source added: “Two prisoners had to go to an outside hospital, meaning that four officers had to go with them. It left an officer and a SPCO (Senior Prisoner Custody Officer) who holds the keys.
“They heard the commotion in the cell, but coudn’t go in because there wasn’t enough staff, so they had to wait for other members of staff to come back.
“When they went in, the prisoner wasn’t there. He didn’t get far and was floating about outside the care and separation unit.”
A Sodexo Justice Services spokesman said: “We can confirm that a prisoner did breach his cell but was contained within a secure internal compound at all times.
“Additional resources were allocated to deal with the incident which was then resolved.”