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Wrong prisoner freed in name mix-up

A prisoner has been released from jail by mistake after an apparent mix-up involving another inmate with the same surname.

The Prison Service has launched an investigation into how the inmate, named in a media report as Anthony Douglas, came to be freed "in error" from HMP Hewell in Worcestershire.

Douglas, aged in his 20s and originally from Burton-on-Trent, is reported to have been freed instead of another inmate who had completed his term of imprisonment.

Police arrested Douglas, who has family links to Birmingham, and returned him to prison a day after the blunder at HMP Hewell last week.

Hewell, which primarily houses inmates from Worcestershire, the West Midlands and Warwickshire, was formed by an amalgamation of three jails in 2008.

A Prison Service spokesman confirmed that a prisoner was released in error at the jail on Wednesday July 2.

The spokesman said: "The police were notified immediately and he was recaptured on 3 July.

"An investigation by a senior governor has been launched.

"We take public protection extremely seriously and this type of incident is a very rare but regrettable occurrence."

The error at Hewell follows a series of high-profile incidents in which prisoners have absconded from open prisons, prompting criticism of arrangements to protect the public from violent offenders.

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