Prison escapee Kelden Edward Fraser was being transferred to a maximum-security jail because of his behaviour at a regional jail when he broke out of a prison van at Geraldton airport last week.
A prison source told The West Australian yesterday Fraser had taken part in a roof protest that caused $13,000 damage at Greenough Regional Prison last month.
Fraser, who was recaptured with fellow escapee Cameron John Graham after being on the run for 36 hours, was on remand at the prison for alleged armed robbery.
Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis confirmed yesterday that Fraser's security risk had been upgraded after the incident, prompting his move to a maximum-security prison in Perth.
"His security classification had changed," Mr Francis said.
"This happens all the time. He was going up because of his behaviour."
The prison source said there was surprise among officers that, given the reason for Fraser's move, he was not transferred in what was known as a "high-risk escort". A high-risk escort is carried out by specialist emergency support group officers in the Department of Corrective Services rather than Serco, the company that holds the contract to provide WA's prison transport services.
Instead, Fraser was driven to Geraldton airport with other prisoners in a van with separate individual cells.
Fraser and Graham are believed to have kicked through internal cell panels and then rushed past Serco employees when they opened the van door.
Asked if he thought Fraser should have been given a high-risk escort, Mr Francis said he would not comment on the department's operational decisions.
But he said Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon was reviewing the policies.
"What you've seen is the Commissioner saying there will be no more non-essential transportation of prisoners without his consent," Mr Francis said.
"If he's taken away the authority for people to make those decisions, he's questioning their judgment because of what's happened over the last few days.
"I have complete faith the new Commissioner, who has significant operational experience as a commanding officer of the SASR, will have a look at all these policies, review them and change them as necessary."
The prison source said the roof protest involved five prisoners, including Fraser, who stayed on the roof for about nine hours.
Antenna and extractor fans were damaged.
The jail was in lockdown for 24 hours, the prison source said.
"He (Fraser) is a very high- profile prisoner in the system," the source said. "He just causes all sorts of grief."