TORONTO – An internal investigation is underway after at least four inmates repeatedly escaped a prison in Australia, became intoxicated and then voluntarily returned to the facility in hopes that their absence went unnoticed.
The group, who were in the low-security section of a work release centre at Darwin’s Berrimah Prison, would reportedly sneak out for a few hours from “time to time” by jumping a cyclone fence and meeting with partners who would supply them with items like alcohol and marijuana.
The inmates would then return to the prison before the 7 p.m. headcount.
“It is alleged that four of the prisoners had earlier climbed a perimeter fence to retrieve contraband items from someone on the outside,” said the department spokesman in an interview with Australia’s ABC.
The prisoners were caught after security patrol responded to what appeared to be “yelling and fighting” in one of the rooms on Sunday.
“Five prisoners were found to be in various states of inebriation and were allegedly fighting over a mobile phone,” said the spokesperson in a statement to ABC.
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A search uncovered contraband items such as empty bottles of alcohol, several mobile phones, phone chargers, a cigarette lighter, rolling paper and a small quantity of a “green leafy substance.”
Although it is unknown how many times the inmates have “escaped” to get supplies, authorities say they believe it has occurred “more than once.”
An investigation is now being conducted to determine how many people broke out, and what charges, if any, should be laid.
The inmates have now been transferred to the main prison’s maximum-security section.
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