By PISAI GUMAR
THE government has yet to realise and appreciate the roles of law enforcing agencies such as police, courts and the correctional services which are the backbone in upholding law and order.
Lae resident judge Justice Elenas Batari made the comments yesterday when he paid his first visit to Buimo Correctional Services jail in Lae yesterday.
Batari said the fact that correctional officers live in rundown thatched roof housing was a bad reflection on the organisation and the government.
Despite this, he said, officers continued striving to ensure justice was maintained and the government did not regard improving the houses, offices, jails as priority but yet expect officers to give all they could to their jobs.
The cell blocks built years ago can no longer accommodate the growing number of prisoners and the overcrowding is contributing to the unhygienic living conditions.
Batari also addressed the 480 male prisoners comprising 375 convicts and 137 remandees in the central arena of the prison during his visit.
He said the courts could not convict human beings, lock them behind barbed wire fences and ignore their rights.
“It is a constitutional duty for us judges and magistrates to visit the prisoners at jails to assess whether or not they are properly cared for.”
Batari said people were convicted to serve two purposes – to ensure they bear the pain of their wrong doing and, secondly, for that person to learn from their mistakes.
He assured the CS officers and prisoners that a magistrate would be engaged to conduct frequent visits next year.
Funding limitations is the cause for the deteriorating state of jails around the country according to Buimo’s commanding officer Supt Timbi Kaugla.