Escapes blamed on bad state of cells

National, Normal

The National, Friday 21st September 2012

POLICE have blamed six break-outs by inmates this year to the appalling state of the Maprik police lock-up in East Sepik.
Station commander Insp James Baugen said from Maprik yesterday the most recent break-out was on Sept 4 where five remandees tore down the rotten timber walls and fled during a power black-out at night.
Police have re-captured two and are looking for the other three.
Baugen said the cell could hold up to only 20 prisoners. And it is currently overcrowded with about 50 prisoners.
It is also run-down due to no proper maintenance over the years.
“Even my policemen are living with cockroaches and rats because houses at the police barracks have also deteriorated over the years,’’ he said.
“I am afraid the health inspectors will condemn the barracks anytime.”
He said police in Maprik were still working under the difficult circumstance and needed immediate government and police department intervention to give the houses and lock-up a major facelift.
“I have done all the scoping and presented everything to the department but help does not seem to come.
“Are we waiting for the police barracks and cell to be condemned before we start acting?
“The cell at Maprik also caters for prisoners from Ambunti-Dreikikir, Wosera-Gawi and Yangoru.
“Can the local MPs help improve or build a stronger cell blocks for prisoners?” Baugen said.