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3 Separate Escapes Highlight State Government Budget Cuts

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By Athena Yenko | April 15, 2014 4:10 PM EST

A convicted murderer Tony Dwaine Morgan, dangerous sex offender, Stewart James Dawson, and a drug dealer, Howard Lindsay, escaped prisons in three separate break outs across Queensland, ABC reports.

Morgan, 33, escaped the Capricornia Correctional Centre at Etna Creek near Rockhampton with armed robber Bradley Thomas Kuhl, 34.

Dawson escaped supervision under the Dangerous Prisoners Sexual Offenders Act 2003. He is 182 centimetres tall and with tattoos on his left and right arms.

Lindsay escaped a work camp at Blackall, south-east of Longreach in central-west Queensland.

All escapees are known to be dangerous, and the public is being warned against approaching them.

Meanwhile, union delegate Simone Hitchcock blamed the state government'ss budget cuts for security failure across Queensland jails. She said that due to budget cuts, dog squads officers were removed  from night shifts.

"One of those cuts was to remove dog squad officers from night shift  in all Queensland jails. When [prison officers] were on night shift, they would conduct quite a few patrols of both the centres.I really don't believe you can replace a dog squad officer's presence on night shift," Ms Hitchcock said.

"The dog squad officers are right there on-site, they have their dogs - it is quite a deterrent to any prisoner trying to escape. It is my true belief the removal of these dog squad officers was a contributing factor in the escape that happened. Having the dog squad officers on-site meant that if any prisoners were attempting an escape they would be trapped there and then," she explained.

Bill Byrne, opposition police spokesman, also expressed the same opinion, saying that Queensland's prisons are understaffed.

"It's perhaps an indication of the pressure that's existing in the prison system," he said.

Glenda Mather, Livingstone Shire councillor, noted that the prison farm on the outskirts of Rockhampton, which was aimed as transitional home for convicts, served as prisons for convicted murderers.

"That's I guess a transitional house for prisoners who have proven themselves trustworthy and transitioning back into society. But I've been led to believe, from people I've been speaking to, that on occasions that these people are prematurely placed there, which does pose a risk."

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