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Inmates' £5,467 hospital taxi bills

Nearly 1,000 prison inmates have been given taxis for a 200-yard journey to the local hospital to reduce the risk of them escaping, the Ministry of Justice said.

The taxis for 940 prisoners at Lincoln Prison have cost the taxpayer £5,467 since November 2006, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The Government says the cost is justified as there is a chance of the inmates either escaping or being too ill to walk the short distance to Lincoln County Hospital.

The taxis were used as a last resort if there was nobody available at the prison to take an inmate to hospital and an ambulance could not be justified, a spokeswoman said.

She said: "Taxis are not routinely used for transporting prisoners but they are used for exceptional journeys, subject to risk assessment, where prison or other transport is not available or appropriate, and where it is cost-effective to do so.

"In allowing a prisoner to walk to a hospital, this could heighten the risk of a possible escape attempt, could put them at risk of meeting the victim or a member of the victim's family and put them, or a member of staff, in danger of an assault."

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