There has been a change in the risk categories for inmates in some WA prisons. Photo: Andrew Meares
The escape of a notorious drug trafficker from a Perth jail has prompted the West Australian Department of Corrective Services to change risk categories for inmates.
Bernd Neumann, also known as Brett Faulkner, escaped while walking a puppy during a prisoners' soccer match on February 8.
Neumann, 59, who was two years into a 13-year sentence for trafficking methylamphetamine, has not been seen since.
He had been part of a drug syndicate that included Stephen Cookson - whose head was found washed up on a Rottnest Island beach last year.
Although he had previously skipped bail, Neumann was allowed to leave the minimum security Wooroloo Prison Farm to attend the supervised soccer match as he had been assessed as suitable for a Section 95 program, which can include community work, sport, religious observance or other approved activities.
During a fiery parliamentary session last week, Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said Neumann had been unsuitably assessed too early in his sentence as a minimum security prisoner.
As a result a small number of inmates who had been classed as minimum security had reverted to medium, he said. Neumann is one of four prisoners to escape from WA jails in the past four months. The other three were recaptured.
In the last incident, armed robber Darren Goldsworthy escaped during a visit to Royal Perth Hospital's Shenton Park annexe but was arrested about an hour later.