Construct a new prison, orders judge

National, Normal



NATIONAL Court judge Justice Grahim Ellis has directed the National and Enga provincial governments to construct a jail for Mukurumanda in the Wapenamanda district. Justice Ellis, during his National court circuit to Porgera last month, said he wanted a new jail before the National Court sitting in Wabag in May. He said Mukurumanda had been without a jail for a very long time. Remandees and convicted prisoners from Enga were transported to Baisu jail in the Western Highlands province. A senior correctional officer from Mukurumanda told yesterday that there was no jail to keep the prisoners when the institution was established in1999. An officer who did not want to be named said about 200 convicted prisoners and remandees from Enga were now locked up in Baisu. “We have 24 officers, including three women, doing nothing on the ground. “Most of the time they are doing nothing, collecting their salaries every fortnight,” he said. When the National Court sits in Wabag and Porgera, they travel to Baisu to escort the remandees to Enga for hearings. An officer said they had to transport those convicted to Baisu jail and return. “It’s risky to move hard core criminals on long journeys by road. Our lives are at higher risks because anything can happen during the journey,” he said. He said vehicles used for transporting prisoners and remandees were also giving mechanical problems. “Other times, we do nothing, relax and go party with friends. The morale of prison officers are also low because of this,” said another officer, adding that the authorities need to act quickly. A correctional officer from Baisu confirmed that about 200 remandees and convicted prisoners from Enga province were currently held in Baisu.