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Dangerous criminals attempted jailbreak

The State Liberals are calling on the Minister for Correctional Services Peter Malinauskas to detail how two dangerous criminals almost escaped from Port Augusta prison last Tuesday and why the incident was kept secret.

“It is unacceptable that the Weatherill Government suppresses information regarding high level incidents in our prison system,” said Shadow Minister for Correctional Services Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“I have been informed that around 8.00pm last Tuesday two extremely dangerous prisoners dug under a temporary construction fence into a prohibited area and hot-wired a truck which they intended to ram through the prison perimeter fence to escape.

“I am told that the prisoners were close to escaping and it was only the fact that they were spotted before the truck had time to build up air to release its brakes that prevented them ramming the prison fence.

“After being found the prisoners were able to hold officers at bay for several hours and were not taken back into custody until 1.00am the next morning.

“Minister Malinauskas must explain how two dangerous criminals got so close to escaping and why he has not issued a public statement about this serious breach of prison security.

“Was this attempted jail break the result of overcrowding in the prison system?

“The fact there were also three prisoner on prisoner assaults in the Port Augusta Prison last week is indicative of the problems with overcrowding in the prison system.

“South Australia’s prison system has been operating overcapacity since 2013 and is forecast to continue to be so until at least 2018.

“The Weatherill Government's mis-management of the justice and prison systems has resulted in chronic over-crowding which puts prison officers under unfair pressure and increases the likelihood of incidents within the prisons.”