The National, Friday February 7th, 2014
THE lengthy wait by people on remand at various prisons is a major cause of breakouts, according to acting Correctional Services Commissioner David Melenge.
Melenge said the 157 inmates who escaped from Beon Prison in Madang, Buimo Prison in Lae, Bihute Prison in Goroka and recently from Bui-Iebi Prison in Mendi were mostly prisoners on remand awaiting their court appearance.
“Prisoners who escaped from Bui-Iebi in Mendi recently were those on remand with some having waited for five years to have their cases heard in court,” he said.
“Most of these prison escapes are not by convicted prisoners. It is usually prisoners on remand.”
The problem of jail breakouts was highlighted by the Correctional Services Minister Jim Simatab late last year.
He said a policy framework for detainee rehabilitation and modern detainee industries programme would address the issue once submissions on the policy were considered by the Government.
Melenge said prison officers were looking for those still on the run.
He said some officers were assisting Buimo officers in the recently closed operation Helvim Buimo.
The operation, which looked at addressing containment issues dealing with jail breakouts at Buimo, among other in-house issues, was closed by Melenge and Simatab on Jan 24.
Melenge said announcements made by Simatab at Buimo on the commitment of K2.5 million by the prime minister for a review of the prison system would be discussed at the national commanders’ meeting from Feb 17-21 in Goroka.