Prison staff ‘short-changed’



PRISON staff are held in lower regard to other people who work in the justice system, a police officer says.
Acting commissioner of police northern command Peter Guinness,said this resulted in difficulties recruiting qualified staff for prisons.
During the launching of a two-day workshop on human rights approach to prison management in Lae yesterday, Guinness said prison guards often worked in enclosed and isolated environment, which over time could make them narrow-minded and inflexible in executing their duties.
“There is greater need for these officers to be sensitive to changes in the wider community from which prisoners come and will return,” he said. Guinness said prison work was one of the most complex of public services and one of the lowest-paid jobs.
The government has to recognise that prison staff are entitled to proper remuneration for their difficult and sometimes dangerous tasks.
“Corruption and overlooking of work ethics may creep into the system when these officers are not properly paid,” Guinness said.
Permitting and engaging in skills enhancement training or further studies at colleges and universities was one way of helping officers develop management skills, he said.
Guinness said the importance of maintaining a balance in security, control and justice should be understood by all prison managers.