INCREASING stress on the prison system is being blamed for the escape of two young female prisoners at Numinbah Valley.
Tegan Simpson, 24, and Abigail Graf, 21, have been on the run since Sunday when a late night headcount discovered the pair had absconded from Numinbah Correctional Centre in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Graf is on remand for assaulting police and Simpson was in custody for receiving stolen goods.
Queensland Police statistics reveal 12 prisoners have escaped lawful custody on the Gold Coast in the past three years.
Shadow Corrective Services Minister Tim Mander said the escape could be linked to the huge stress on prisons throughout Queensland and urged the government to take action.
"Any prisoner escaping a correctional facility is an issue and the tensions that have been caused by overcrowding could well be a contributing figure to prisoners wanting to get out," he said.
"We've got chronic overcrowding in our prisons … we've had increased assaults on prison officers because of this overcrowding."
A spokeswoman for Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan said the incident at Numinbah Valley was under investigation.
"Escapes from low security correctional facilities are uncommon and there have been no escapes from a high security prison since 1998," she said.
"An investigation is underway ... The outcome of this (investigation) will determine whether any further measures need to be implemented."
Graf is described as about 168cm tall and weighs about 61kg, with hazel coloured eyes and bleached blonde hair. She has several tattoos including one of eye and teeth on her left arm, the 'A' anarchy sign on her left-hand ring finger, the word 'death' on her upper left leg, a graffiti tag on her left ankle and one of the word 'life' on her upper right leg.
Simpson is described as about 163cm tall, weighs 48kg, has green eyes and dark brown hair. She also has several tattoos including one of the word 'strength' over her left eyebrow, a rose behind left ear, a full sleeve tattoo on her left arm, angel wings on her right inner wrist, a bow on her right hand, a phoenix bird on her lower left leg, a crown on her right foot as well as a skull, rose, lantern, eye, ladies face on her right leg.
A Gold Coast police source said aside from the risk to the community, the cost of dispatching police to pursue escapees was a burden on the force and the community.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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