A CONVICTED sex offender who escaped from a country Victorian prison is back in custody after more than 24 hours on the run.
Barry Dettman, 51, was arrested in Werribee about 5pm on Monday, police confirmed. Television footage broadcast by Channel Seven showed him smiling after his capture, as he sat in the back of a police vehicle.
Dettman had walked out of the minimum-security Langi Kal Kal prison in Trawalla between Ararat and Ballarat about 10am on Easter Sunday, and was sighted in Werribee at 5pm.
Earlier on Monday, his mother had urged him to "cop it sweet", and give himself up to police. She said she was shocked to hear that her son had escaped.
"I couldn't believe it, because he's not far off getting out, paroled," she told Channel Ten.
Dettman had one month remaining of his sentence when he escaped.
"Give yourself up, cop it sweet and get it out the way," his mother pleaded on Monday.
The woman, whose image was pixelated by Channel Ten, said she believed Dettman had been to her house and taken a radio.
She also told Channel Ten: "He never hurt anyone. You can ask anyone in the street. They've all known him since he was little, and they always say he's polite."
She also said: "You can just wait and hope that they get him quick, you know, for his own good."
In another television interview, broadcast on Channel Seven, she said her son had "always been a wanderer, so he could be anywhere".
The woman also told Seven that her son was not dangerous. "I want people to know he's not a child molester, he's definitely not dangerous," she said.
"He's an idiot, he's not a danger ... he does stupid things," she said.
Dettman was reportedly jailed in October for committing indecent acts in front of a child. His escape raises questions about the adequacy of security at Langi Kal Kal prison.
Victorian Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley was quizzed about the man's escape at a media doorstop on Easter Monday.
"I think what this shows is that services need to do their job. And I would express my disappointment that Langi Kal Kal failed to do their job," he said.
Dettman's escape on Sunday follows a number of breakouts at the facility over recent years.
The greater Ararat area is home to Langi Kal Kal prison and Corella Place, a correctional facility in Beaufort for convicted sex offenders who have served time in prison but still pose a risk to the community.
Last July, another sex offender escaped from Corella Place, 45 kilometres from Ararat, after cutting off his ankle bracelet monitor. He was located and arrested in Beaufort about 12 hours later.
In July 2014, another sex offender escaped Corella Place and was found in a toilet block in Ballarat. In June 2013, another two men were arrested after escaping the facility.
Meanwhile, Langi Kal Kal, a prison farm for low-risk prisoners or criminals nearing the end of their sentences, has also experienced security breaches.
In October 2015, two inmates escaped the facility, resulting in the prison going into lockdown as police searched the area by ground and in the air.
In December 2012, Christopher John Clarke, 29, was arrested at a petrol station in Colac after being on the run for two days.
One Ararat resident told Fairfax Media locals were "very used to prisoners on the run" but said there was normally no trouble between criminals and the community.
The woman relocated to Ararat from Queensland six years ago with her husband, who helped build the facility.
"The locals I'd imagine are quite nervous again. However, locals are very used to prisoners on the run around here," she said.
"It's not very frequent but it's happened here before and it does make everyone very aware of their surroundings."
Another woman said security was normally "very, very well controlled". She considered the local prisons just part of the area.
"That's the choice people make when they come to this town, knowing that this prison is here and what it's there for, but it's not different from anywhere else."
An Ararat motel owner said on Monday that there was normally no trouble between prisoners and residents.
"I think this town looks after each other very well," she said. "It's one of the nicest towns I've ever lived in.
"I know there's been one escape before in Beaufort, but normally there's no trouble with the prisoners."
With Ballarat Courier