Phones, axes confiscated

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 24th January, 2013

WARDERS have confiscated mobile phones, ammunition, iron rods, axes and bush knives from inmates at East Sepik’s Boram jail.
The Correctional Services had moved quickly and transferred 20 inmates, reportedly regular offenders, out of the jail this week to address disciplinary problems and restore control.
Action included moving aside prison head Chief Insp Aron Menau, his deputy and some senior officers.
Deputy commissioner operations Michael Waipo said the changes were directed by the CS commissioner following widespread reports from police and the public in East Sepik of the command losing control over the prisoners who were free during and after normal hours and involved in dubious activities.
“These prisoners go out of the prison, chew betel nuts, get drunk, do all other activities under the sun and can come back anytime, even after dark,” Waipo said.
“It contradicts prison regulations and also poses a great risk to public safety.”
A CS team led by Waipo arrived in Wewak last Wednesday to restore control at the jail and fix problems that were allowed to grow over the years.
“We personally inspected the cell blocks last Thursday and removed contraband items such as mobile phones, live ammunitions, iron rods, axes and bush knives which were not supposed to be kept by prisoners inside the cell blocks,” Waipo said.
He said the offensive weapons could be used on prisoners and prison officers.
“Twenty prisoners, who were among those identified to be regularly violating the prison regulations, were transferred out of Boram on Tuesday and would be distributed among the prisons in the highlands region,” Waipo said.
“When I left with the prisoners by boat on Tuesday, Chief Insp Andrew Polis, from Goroka, took over the command with all new senior officers under his command as appointed by the commissioner.”