In particular, the effectiveness of the outer security fence has been questioned after three detainees assaulted two staff members and scaled the perimeter to make their escape late on Saturday night.
Health Minister Lara Giddings yesterday expressed concern at the attack, revealing that the staff involved were recovering in hospital.
The incident comes after five detainees used an almost identical route to exit the centre earlier this month and ran amok around the State, including crashing a stolen car into a police car on the East Coast.
One Ashley worker, who did not want to be named, said the facility was becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the community.
"The record (to scale the fence) is 30 seconds," the staff member said.
"It's a visual barrier to look good and make the public think `oh, they are safe behind there' but it's by no means secure."
Because of provisions in the Youth Justice Act, the fence is not allowed to be topped with razor wire like that used in prisons.
The worker said some detainees openly talked about climbing the 3.9m high wall, with many simply seeing it as a challenge to be conquered.
"Your average unfit detainee wouldn't get over it, but those who are planning escapes are doing exercises in their room, keeping fit, and if the opportunity arose, they would go over it."
He said the seriousness of the latest assault warranted a full review of security measures.
The call was echoed by Liberal health spokeswoman Sue Napier, who questioned the effectiveness of the Government's $7 million investment to improve security at the centre, including the $450,000 spent on the fence.
"It is extraordinary that in light of all this the fence could apparently be so inadequate as to allow eight detainees to escape in recent weeks," Ms Napier said.
In 2002, then minister Judy Jackson promised the fence, which replaced a standard barbed wire farm fence, would curb the massive rate of escapes from the centre, which at the time averaged 44 a year.
Just weeks after completion, two detainees made a mockery of that promise by scaling the perimeter to make a getaway.
Since March last year, at least 14 youths have escaped over the perimeter.
Ms Giddings said she had called for a briefing on the latest incident and of standard internal incident review procedures.
"Any form of violence towards Ashley's workers is abhorrent and I wholeheartedly condemn the actions of individuals who would choose to injure staff who are there to look after them," she said.
December 10, 1999: Work starts on the $6 million revamp of Ashley Youth Detention Centre. Between 1999 and 2001 the centre had an annual escape rate of about 44 a year.
February 21, 2001: A youth escapes just minutes after arriving at the centre, he was recaptured 15 days later on March 8.
March 14, 2001: Two youths abscond from an apple-picking trip to Legana about 11.20 am. One was recaptured on March 21 and the other surrendered himself to police about three weeks later.
March 27 to April 3: an embarrassing spate of 10 escapes within a week prompts Premier Jim Bacon to call on police to "sort out the mess at Ashley."
May 25, 2001: Two youths abscond from a supervised working party. One was caught half an hour later at Exton while the other remained on the run until the next day. Health Minister Judy Jackson assures the public the facility will be fully secure with the erection of a new security fence.
July 2001: The new $450,000 perimeter fence is completed.
Flying in the face of the minister's promise, just weeks later on July 25, a 16 and a 17-year-old scale the fence and evade capture for two days until being picked up at Rocherlea.
February 1, 2002: Three 17-year-olds abscond while on a supervised outing at the Latrobe Speedway. Two are caught a day later with the third apprehended a day after that on the roof of a Devonport house.
February 4, 2002: A 16-year-old detainee escapes by using a lighter to melt an "unbreakable" plastic window in the new high- security division. He piled three wheelie bins on top of each other to climb over the security fence and made his escape in a worker's car.
February 23, 2002: The completed $7.4 million Ashley redevelopment is officially opened by Ms Jackson.
Four days later two 17-year-olds escape by lighting fires within their compound to trigger the smoke alarm-activated safety doors.
March 1, 2002: Three 16-year-old high-security detainees smash their way out of a door during a woodworking session and escape over the new fence. Two were caught a day later at Rocherlea. One of the 17-year-olds from the previous escape was recaptured at Gagebrook.
March 6, 2002: A Mayfield man is charged with harbouring two escapees, one from the February 27 escape and the other from March 1.
July 30, 2002: A 17-year- old inmate escapes from a yard within the centre but is recaptured the same day.
August 20, 2004: Two youths are recaptured a week after they escaped while rock climbing.
February 18, 2005: Police swoop on the disabled car of two Ashley escapees after a dramatic 110km police pursuit ends with the deployment of tyre spikes. The detainees escaped while on a supervised outing at Caveside a week earlier.
March 16, 2005: Two detainees have their escape plan thwarted within 25 minutes of scaling the perimeter fence.
March 26, 2006: Four youths abscond from the facility while taking part in weekend sports. Three were arrested the following week.
May 13, 2006: Two youths escape their carer at traffic lights while en route from Hobart to Ashley. One was recaptured a short time later.
November 3, 2006: Five detainees escape at 11.40pm by assaulting and overpowering a staff member and scaling the security fence. One was recaptured two days later after being intercepted by police at Mornington. Another was arrested on November 6 after crashing a stolen car into a police car on the East Coast.
November 25, 2006: Three youths scale the perimeter fence close to midnight and are last seen heading towards Westbury.
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