23 Jul 2012

Delay in spotting inmate's hot-wired getaway

3:19 pm on 23 July 2012

An official report has found the Corrections Department took an hour-and-a-half to realise an inmate had hot-wired one of its cars and escaped from a work gang.

Jamie Hughes spent two days on the run from Rangipo Prison, near Turangi, in February after taking off in a Corrections landcruiser.

Hughes had been thinning dense bush with two other prisoners when he escaped.

It was 90 minutes before emergency procedures were activated at Rangipo Prison, and two days before he was recaptured.

The Corrections Department says the work gang was checked on several times, but it is regrettable that one face-to-name audit wasn't done.

Corrections says it has taken disciplinary action against one staff member but is not revealing whether it sacked the worker.

The department says the escape was very concerning and it has changed its policies for vehicles and prisoner management as a result.