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Authorities probe escape from "breakout-proof" prison in Turku

Authorities at Saramäki prison in Turku, southwest Finland are investigating how a prisoner was able to break out of the penitentiary in the early hours of Monday morning. Although prison guards were too late to stop the fugitive, they immediately alerted police, who quickly tracked him down.

Turun vankila
Image: Yle

A male prisoner successfully got the better of security measures at a prison in Turku early Monday morning. According to the tabloid daily Iltalehti, the case was the first successful prison break since the institution was completed in 2007.

Although prison guards were unable to foil the escape, they quickly alerted police, who found the fugitive in the vicinity after a search of a few hours. Prison director Juhani Järvi declined offering details about the breakout, citing security concerns. However he said that the man’s flight was clearly not done on a whim.

"No violence was used, which is positive in the larger scheme of things. The escape appeared to have been carefully planned. This was not a case of a sudden whim," Järvi said.

The man was in prison serving a fairly long sentence for drug offences; however he had not been in detention for very long.

"Our staff did notice the escape, but it all happened so quickly that they couldn’t stop him. Police were on the scene very quickly," Järvi added.

Prison warden: 'This won't happen again'

Prison authorities are currently looking into the events leading up to the escape. Järvi said that officials will take action afterwards.

"We will ensure that this kind of breakout doesn’t happen again," he commented.

Iltalehti cited unconfirmed reports that the man was able to escape from a third-storey window by using sheets as a rope before scaling the prison wall.

The 255-inmate prison is located in the sparsely-populated Saramäki part of Turku and replaced the former Kakola prison, which dated back to the mid-19th century.

The new penitentiary was commissioned in 2007 and is a completely closed facility that is surrounded by a sturdy wall. It is the country’s newest facility, and has always been considered escape-proof.

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