Judge Ellis ends 10-month jails probe

National, Normal

NATIONAL Court judge Justice Graham Ellis has officially closed his inquiry into the status of correctional facilities at Baisu, Western Highlands, and Mukurumanda, Enga.
He made the ruling last Thursday, saying he was satisfied with answers he got on the three reasons for his inquiry following an inpection of the facilities in Feb 2 which also included the condition of the police cells in Wabag.
Justice Ellis ended the 10-month probe in Port Moresby after requesting Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo and Correctional Services Commissioner Richard Sikani to appear before him on Nov 24 to give “first-hand evidence of the current status of those two issues”.
On the condition of the police cells in Wabag, he was satisfied that these cells had been renovated.
On the lack of correctional facilities in Enga, Ellis noted that a steering committee had been established, landowner issues had been addressed and the construction of the correctional facility for up to 600 prisoners at Mukurumanda, near Wabag, was now at the design stage.
On the conditions in the Baisu correctional facility, he said: “There is a seven-stage project, designed to house up to 800 prisoners and
estimated to cost K83 million for the demolition and rehabilitation of the correctional facility at Baisu and the
first stage of that project has been put out to tender.”
Ellis said that additionally, to the extent that health problems had recently resulted in death from dysentery at Baisu, a proposal would be put before the next national coordinating mechanism meeting with the objective of preventing further such deaths by establishing and maintaining a minimum standard in correctional facilities that meets the basic rights provision of the constitution.