After Belmarsh it's 'Kray' jail for inmate Archer

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The Independent Online

Jeffrey Archer completed his move on Thursday from a high-security jail to the more relaxed surroundings of a prison in rural Norfolk that was once Reggie Kray's place of internment.

Archer was transferred to the category-C Wayland prison after a bizarre series of manoeuvres designed to throw the media off his trail during the two-and-half hour journey from south-east London.

Several prison vans were sent from Belmarsh jail and drove off in different directions to confuse reporters. His move was only confirmed after his arrival at Wayland at lunchtime.

The move to the category-C jail, 50 miles from his family's Cambridge home, keeps him within Britain's "closed system" of prisons, following his conviction for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

However, Archer is likely to have a much easier time at Wayland than at Belmarsh. He will eat all his meals in his cell and is likely to have a job as a cleaner or in a workshop. He will be out of his cell for much of the day and will earn about £7.50 a week for his work, said Mark Leech, chief executive of the ex-offender's group Unlock.

The multi-millionaire could also get up to £15 a week of his own money and he can receive twice-monthly family visits.

Plans to move the disgraced peer to an open prison to serve his four-year sentence were halted last week pending the outcome of a police investigation into the alleged disappearance of millions of pounds Archer claimed were raised for Kurds in Northern Iraq.

The 61-year old former Conservative deputy party chairman could eventually be moved to an open prison.

The transfer yesterday meant that Archer had served the same stretch, 20 days, in Belmarsh, as the previous disgraced and jailed high-ranking politician, Jonathan Aitken.

Mr Leech said Archer had been lucky. "He has been very fortunate not only to be sent to a jail near his home but also in record time. Someone is clearly pulling strings for him. You would normally be in Belmarsh for the best part of six months. I'm sure there are people there who have been waiting many weeks for a place at Wayland."