LOCKS in a NSW jail have had to be changed after an inmate allegedly stole a pair of keys on the way out the door.
A Corrective Services spokeswoman confirmed police were investigating the theft at Parklea Correctional Centre.
She said a “small number” of locks had to be changed as a result of the bungle.
“An inmate allegedly took the keys from a staff area as he was being processed for release on December 22 last year,” the spokeswoman said.
“The centre’s operators, GEO, notified police and investigations are continuing.
“None of the keys provide access to the prison or to inmate areas inside such as cells or yards. A small number of affected locks elsewhere in the centre have been replaced or secured with padlocks.
“Corrective Services NSW, which manages the contract with Parklea’s operator GEO, is also investigating security measures including key control and management processes within the centre.”
Opposition corrections spokesman Guy Zangari took aim at the state government over the missing keys.
“The fact is it’s a security breach and it is of a great concern to the local community and wider community if a key goes missing in any facility,” Mr Zangari said.
“The minister has an obligation to inform the public that there has been a security breach. There’s a possibility there that there could be a break out.”
Mr Zangari warned prisons risked becoming revolving doors if they couldn’t secure keys.
“You simply can’t just pick up a bunch of keys in a prison facility and take off with them,” he said.
“How did keys go missing in a prison?
“Irrespective of who the prisoner is, a prisoner is a prisoner and should not, must not have access to keys. Otherwise, prison facilities become a revolving door.
“This is day four of the new year and we have had prison assaults, murder, riots and now keys go missing. Where does it end?”
Steve McMahon, chair of the Prison Officers branch of the PSA, warned the mistake could cost the state a hefty sum of money.
“The reality is that changing those locks could have cost thousands of dollars and that is probably borne by the state and not the contractor and it’s a monumental mistake,” he said.
Mr McMahon said the error was a “rookie mistake”.
“It’s drummed into prison officers from day one that the keys are to remain on their person attached to a lanyard on their belt,” he said.
“It’s concerning to me that this inmate had access to a staff area that shows that there’s probably a problem there.”
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