Jailbreak an inside job, says Opposition

The West Australian

Inmates who orchestrated the Greenough Regional Prison escape — WA’s largest single jail breakout in recent history — had to have inside knowledge, according to the State Opposition.

Shadow Corrective Services Minister Zak Kirkup has spoken publicly about a ministerial briefing he attended in relation to the July 24 riot and breakout, in which 10 inmates escaped the medium security facility.

He said it concerned him greatly that prisoners were able to quickly break into a secure tool shed containing ladders and cordless angle grinders, when they were not even meant to know the shed existed.

Within an hour and 20 minutes of the riot, the men had escaped.

“It wasn’t by accident,” he said. “It seems to me the prisoners escaped in a short period of time, through very direct and co-ordinated actions.

“In my mind, given the nature of the room and what it is like, they had to have significant insider awareness.” Speaking in Parliament last week, Mr Kirkup said the prisoners climbed over a roof, broke out of a secured basketball court environment, got into an industrial area and then climbed through a roof to get access into a storage shed, believed to be unmarked.

“When they got into this area that they were not meant to know existed, they did not try to breach the door, which, as I understand it, would have been relatively secure,” he said.

“They knew to go through the roof to get into it, and then broke out of the storeroom, which they should not have known existed.”

Outside Parliament, Mr Kirkup said it had been put to him that the Corrective Services executive and the minister could not rule out that the prisoners had inside knowledge.

“It may not have been current prison staff — it could have been anyone who visited the prison in the past 10 years,” he said.

Mr Kirkup said he hoped the inquiry into the incident would examine the question.

“The terms of reference, as I understand it, will certainly look at the riot, the escape and the recovery, but I want to make sure they identify how prisoners could have come across that information in the first place,” he said.

Mr Kirkup told Parliament resourcing was not the issue at Greenough, but there was a need for better upgraded infrastructure.

“I would have concerns that under the risk cover approach, there will be only like for like replacement,” he told Parliament. “Wooden cell doors will be replaced with wooden doors, when obviously they need to be much harder than that.”

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