Tom Blenkinsop, the Labour Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, is set to ask the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Ken Clarke, about why Bernard Lee Sharkey, a violent convicted prisoner, was allowed to work at the leisure farm at Newham Grange.
“I find myself somewhat amazed that Her Majesty’s Prison Service felt it appropriate to allow a prisoner serving an indefinite sentence for public protection to work in a family environment in my constituency, like Newham Grange Country Farm in Coulby Newham. Whilst rehabilitation is important, it was quite clearly not the correct decision in this instance to permit him to work in such a place.
“In the House of Commons, I will be asking Ken Clarke, the Secretary of State who is responsible for prisons in England and Wales, a series of questions surrounding the circumstances of this escape. My constituents deserve to know what risk assessment was undertaken by the Prison Service, how often similar incidents have happened in the past elsewhere in both the region and the country, and what steps the Prison Service will take to stop the public being put at risk by any future such occurrences.
“I will also be asking the Home Secretary, Theresa May, what estimate she has made of the cost that police forces face attempting to find escaped prisoners like Bernard Lee Sharkey, and whether the Prison Service compensates local police forces involved in such manhunts.”
In addition, Tom has written to Cleveland Police and Her Majesty’s Prison Service asking for an update on their inquiries.