Two teenagers charged with killing two Hobart pensioners were on the run last night after escaping from the Ashley juvenile detention centre near Deloraine.
One of the pair, a 15-year-old charged with murdering an 87-year-old woman in Hobart, has now escaped from custody four times.
The other is a 17-year-old charged with the separate murder of a 65-year-old man in Hobart.
Both are from the South and believed to be heading towards Hobart.
There have been at least 40 escapes from Ashley since last July.
The younger boy has escaped from Ashley three times, and once from a car while being conveyed to Ashley.
Until a month ago, as punishment, he had been required to wear handcuffs and be with a staff member every time he went outside in the secure unit at Ashley.
But those restrictions were lifted when his behaviour was judged to have improved.
Health and Human Services Minister Judy Jackson said that the rebuilding of Ashley remained a top priority for the State Government.
She said a new centre would be considered for the 1999-2000 State budget.
The wall over which the two inmates escaped is also expected to be replaced within two months.
The 15-year-old boy escaped over the same wall last year.
Child, Youth and Family Support director Bob Gilkes said that the new wall would immediately improve security but it would not be a guarantee against escapes.
``I don't think anyone in Australia who has responsibility for a juvenile detention centre would be prepared to give a 100 per cent ironclad guarantee that no-one will ever abscond. I mean, they got out of Alcatraz, didn't they?'' Mr Gilkes said.
The two escaped from the secure unit at Ashley at 7.30pm on Wednesday.
They had been alone in the courtyard of the secure unit with one staff member when a fight broke out inside the unit.
The staff member went inside to investigate, and while he was gone the two boys climbed over the brick wall topped by barbed wire.
Ashley programmes manager Peter Barr said that three staff members had been in the secure unit when the pair escaped.
``Within two to three minutes we were in the car and saw them go into the bush. That's how quick we were,'' he said.
The pair are believed to have walked into Deloraine, where they are understood to have stolen a yellow Nissan ute from West Goderich St between 11pm and 1am.
They are believed to have driven the ute to Campbell Town, where they dumped it in Glenelg St about 1.30am.
They are then believed to have stolen from the same street a blue Holden Commodore with the registration DF 9794.
Police Association of Tasmania general secretary Mark Kadziolka said members were tired of police resources being used to chase escapees from Ashley.
``(Ashley) should be secure and sufficient resources should be put into it,'' he said.
The 15-year-old boy is about 179cm tall, of medium build, with brown eyes, brown hair and olive complexion.
The 17-year-old youth is about 176cm tall, of slim build, with blond hair and blue eyes and fair complexion.
People are warned not to approach the escapees but to contact Crimestoppers immediately on 1800 005 555.