Convict’s escape goes unnoticed for 90 minutes

By Melissa Wishart

A report has been released today detailing the escape of a convict from Tongariro Rangipo Prison from a work gang whose absence was not noticed for an hour and a half.
Jamie Paamu Hughes, 29, was working with a Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) forestry work gang on February 21 with another two prisoners when he hot-wired a Corrections Toyota Landcruiser and vanished.
The prisoners, who were working on prison grounds, were placed 20-30m apart for safety reasons, as they were using chainsaws. It was due to this that “visibility of all members of the work gang was compromised”, according to the report.
Hughes was missing for 90 minutes before the Corrections instructor responsible for checking on the prisoners realised he had gone and activated emergency procedures.
He was found hidden in the roof of a Taupo home two days later.
Hughes, who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend in 2010, had nine months added to his prison sentence and was re-classified as a high security prisoner.
There have been changes made to the organisation of work groups and corrections vehicles, and disciplinary action has been taken against the CIE instructor.