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PNG Post-Courier

Bomana jail, the main prison near Papua New Guinea’s capital city of Port Moresby, is not accepting new prisoners due to overcrowding.

The jail currently holds more than 800 inmates. It can no longer accept new prisoners.

Last Friday, an unreported incident involved several remanded inmates taken to Bomana jail being sent back to Port Moresby for police to ‘take care of the problem”.

Chief jailer Stephen Pokanis confirmed yesterday, that the management had requested police and courts to use their discretion to grant bail to offenders classified as low risk and attending court hearings.

“That is the avenue we are looking at now because Bomana is just like other jails — experiencing overcrowding — and that is the best option we can use for police and court to help us,” Pokanis said.

Several incidents of break outs from overcrowded PNG prisons have been reported this year.

Bomana management will have classified low risk prisoners out of the high maximum-security unit in order for them to be transferred out to a low minimum-security unit, creating space for incoming remanded prisoners.

Correctional Service Employee Association president Daniel Mollen said yesterday it was
sad that while financial constraints were hitting the country and the Correctional Service, a frontline department mandated for correcting and reforming prisoners, no adequate budgetary funding had been made to increase manpower capacity, update the aged jail facilities, and mitigate any risk of the breakout.

He said government must take note that all prisons in the country were overcrowded and police could not keep prisoners in their cells so they transferred them to prison while waiting for court hearings, adding responsibility in terms of cost and risk.

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