Wrong inmate walks free after same surname blunder

This article is more than 12 months old

A case of mistaken identity has left British prison officials red-faced after they let the wrong convict walk free last week.

Anthony Douglas was released from Hewell prison last Wednesday instead of another offender with the same surname who had completed his sentence, reported Birmingham Mail.

Fortunately for the prison officials, Douglas, who is in his 20s, was arrested a day after his mistaken release and is back in Hewell prison. 

A senior member of staff had been suspended because of the mix-up, added the report. 

Very rare

The Prison Service has launched an investigation into the error. 

“We take public protection extremely seriously and this type of incident is a very rare but regrettable occurrence,” a spokesman said. 

It was unclear how long Douglas had left on his sentence or what he had been convicted of, reported Daily Mail.

But the report said he was at Hewell after spending time at a high-security psychiatric unit in Liverpool.

After a series of controversies on missing prisoners, the Justice Secretary had announced plans earlier this year to tighten rules surrounding day release from open prisons, added the Birmingham Mail report.

Sources: Birmingham Mail, Daily Mail