Court delays choking Baisu jail

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By MARJORIE FINKEO
HOLDING detainees for too long in prison waiting for court apperances is causing overcrowding in Western Highlands’ Baisu Jail, says Correctional Service acting-Commissioner Stephen Pokanis, pictured.
He was responding to concerns raised about 21 remandees having been held at Baisu since 2016 awaiting court appearances.
Pokanis told The National that remand detainees were under the National Court and Correctional Services took care of their containment and management,
“Holding detainees for this long adds to overcrowding woes,” he said.
“Consistency in consultation should help Correctional Services, court and other parties to find amicable options to deal with this serious dilemma affecting our detainees, as well as putting more stress on our officers.
“On the administrative way forward, I will dialogue with jail commanding officer Timbi Kaugla and look into it.”
Pokanis said National Court should explain why there were lengthy delay in court appearances.
Meanwhile, Pokanis has assumed his role after his appointment last month. He has started work at Bomana Jail and headquarters to reform and transform the organisation.
Pokanis has put officers on notice to o be at work for a full eight hours of work daily and instructed division heads to make sure that officers were at work.
“Officers who absent themselves without genuine reasons should have their pay docked for non-performance,” he said.
Pokanis urged senior executives and commanding officers to work together with him and not to cause divisions within ranks.
He said that the 14 priorities of the Correctional Services Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 emphasised reforming, transforming and modernising the department,
“What is important is to construct the pathway to modernise CS,” Pokanis said.
“We have started with the 14 priorities and the team leaders have been appointed.”

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