Plans to restrict prisoners’ movement after breakout


PRISONERS will now be restricted in their movement when relatives come to visit, usually on Sundays, to prevent escapes, says Correctional Services Commissioner Stephen Pokanis.
It follows the breakout by 17 prisoners at Buimo prison in Lae last Sunday during visiting hours.
A prison officer and one of the 17 prisoners died.
Pokanis said most escapes occurred during visiting hours, or when prisoners were taken to hospitals in groups.
“They say they are sick, we take them to the clinic to get their medicine, and to be checked, and they run away,” he said. “They say they have a right to be visited by their families, we allow them that, and they run away. I think it’s to do with people management.”
Buimo prison has five officers looking after about 45 prisoners during visiting hours.
“They supervise the prisoners as well as the families who are there to visit. (But) they cannot supervise the 45 at the same time for 30 minutes, the time given for a visit,” he said.
“They will change this slightly, allowing prisoners out one at a time, if they are three to four visitors.
“If there are five officers, we can try to get five prisoners to come and sit down with their families.
“This way, we can (reduce the chance of) escape.”
Prisoners are being locked up because of what happened last Sunday. “They can complain but they are being locked up, being fed and those who are sick are being monitored. They are being taken to the hospital one by one, not in numbers,” he said.

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