Conservative MP Philip Davies wants Christmas to be cancelled for "serious" prisoners set to be reunited with their families over the festive period. Around 100 are expected to be allowed a temporary homecoming for up to six days in a bid to help them "take control of their lives".
Davies, who sits on parliament's Justice Committee, said 93 prisoners serving life terms were among the 1,347 offenders who were allowed out on a temporary licence to spend Christmas at home. Three hundred of the offenders had been jailed for violent offences, nine for sexual offences, and 200 for burglary or robbery. Blantyre House prison in Goudhurst, Kent, released the most life-term prisoners after giving the green light for 13 to go home for Christmas.
The Shipley MP fears some "very serious" criminals will be allowed out at Christmas and has called for their permission to be revoked. "Being sent to prison is supposed to be a punishment, but these people are being let out to have their roast turkey and Christmas pudding – and that's not what prison is there for. If they wanted to see their families at Christmas, they shouldn't have committed their crimes in the first place," he told the Daily Mail.
During questions in the House of Commons, Justice Minister Andrew Selous said: "All temporary release is subject to rigorous risk assessment, including assessment of the impact of release on any victims. Release will be refused where there is an unacceptable risk of breach."