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Third Prison Break Since July

Published fredag 24 september 2004 kl 13.40

Police launched a nationwide manhunt Friday for two inmates who escaped from a high security prison with a hostage.

The state prison board director has resigned in the wake of this, Sweden’s third prison break since July. 

Lena Häll Eriksson , director general of the National Prison and Probation Administration resigned late Thursday night after the two inmates escaped from Mariefred prison, 24 miles west of Stockholm. Justice Minister Thomas Bodström said, ”I respect her decision. My thoughts are now with the hostage and his relatives.”

To escape, the inmates used a knife smuggled into the prison to threaten unarmed guards, took one hostage and stole a white Toyota van in the prison parking lot. One was serving a life sentence for murder, the other was in prison for drug offences. Sweden’s approach to prison security has been hotly debated after two dramatic breakouts over the summer. Prison guards in Sweden’s penal system are unarmed.

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