By JAMES APA GUMUNO
HEALTH officials from Western Highlands inspected the Baisu jail yesterday and declared it unsafe for human habitation.
They recommended the immediate closure of this jail.
They confirmed that dysentery was the cause of the death of three prisoners last week. Many other prisoners had become ill through using contaminated water.
Prisoners demanded a transfer to other prisons in the region in fear of getting infected. Failure by the prison officials to move them had led to the breakout last Friday, in which prison guards allegedly shot dead six escaping prisoners.
Director medical service of Mt Hagen General Hospital Dr Michael Dokup said yesterday that the jail was unfit to keep prisoners and recommended that all remaining prisoners be transferred to other jails.
Dokup said, during their visit, they discovered that there was no water in the jail for cooking and drinking.
He said the prisoners used contaminated water from the drain for their daily needs.
He said sanitation and hygiene of the jail was very poor and not fit for human beings to live.
To illustrate his point, Dokup said even a pig locked up in the jail would die because of the appalling conditions.
He said the sewage system of the jail was blocked and sewage was overflowing into gardens and drains.
He said it was clear the supply of fresh clean water was the jail’s biggest problem.
Dokup slammed comments by Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo and Commissioner Richard Sikani that the shooting was justified.
He said the two should visit Baisu and see for themselves the conditions there.
Dokup said he was puzzled at claims in the media by Aimo and Sikani that health workers visited the jail and fumigated facilities in there and collected samples for clinical tests.
He said nothing like that had happened.