As a part of a rehabilitation programme the HMP Oakwood prisoners near Wolverhampton are to be allowed to leave the jail to spend some time with their families.
The town visits are being monitored by a private security firm G4S and the rules states that every prisoner would have to undergo a strict risk assessment before making the day trip.
The move has drawn a lot of flak from the parents who live near the new Midlands prison saying they were disgusted that sex offenders would be released into the community.
A parent of a pupil at a nearby school, who wished to be anonymous said that no one had informed them about the plan that the wrong doers were going to walk free around the area close to schools and other public places.’
HMP Oakwood director Steve Holland confirmed sex offenders would be housed at the jail and said G4S was negotiating to implement treatment programmes for the prisoners concerned.
He insisted the prisoners would be vetted before they were included on the town visits programme.
The prison houses category C inmates, defined as those who cannot be trusted in open conditions but are considered unlikely to make a determined escape attempt
However as a Category C Prison taking convicted sex offenders, residents need to know that these inmates can be allowed out on visits with their families once a risk assessment has been conducted.’
Mr Holland said that the community needed to be assured that they would not be put at any risk. Prisoners will be individually assessed before being given access to town visits.
A spokesman for GS4 security said 'Prisoners may be released on temporary licence but only providing they meet strict criteria and pass a rigorous risk assessment.
Only those assessed as representing minimal risk of escape or risk of harm to the public are eligible. They will be released on temporary licence to prepare them for their eventual release
He said that it would help to reduce the chance of re-offending by setting up appropriate employment and rehabilitation work in the community, and maintaining family contact. This is essential for successful resettlement and an important factor in protecting the public.