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April 13, 2021

Simatab: No Statistics on Correctional Service Operations in PNG

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by Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby

Correctional Service minister, Jim Simatab, says no clear statistics on CS operations in Papua New Guinea have reached his office in the last 12 months.

Simatab noted that despite prison break outs, not all escapees were recaptured and while there are instances of human rights abuse in the prisons, those incidents remains unaccounted for.

He says with the appointment of Bernard Nepo as acting CS commissioner, he believes there will be a closer working relationship with the CS Department and his office.     

Minister Simatab made these remarks when addressing correctional officers at the Acting Commissioner’s Welcome Parade at the Bomana jail yesterday.

Simatab says for too long, ill practices within the jail premises in the country went unreported and the CS will be seeing a change in the way the operations are run.

He highlighted that there were five outstanding issues the department will be looking at improving with Nepo as acting commissioner.

“How many correctional officers found to be negligent in their custodial duties have been charged? How many jail commanders found guilty of miss conduct have been jailed over the last decade?” Simatab asked.

These areas include Major Prison Review, Adoption of New Rehabilitation Policy, and Promotion of Public Private Partnership in developing the Correctional Infrastructure, Establishing Rural Lock Ups and the Need for Incremental Funding.   

So far, under the rural lock up program, only two of the 14 areas selected for the program, were opened while the remaining 12 remains as working progress.    

With these outstanding issues at hand, Nepo was directed to focus on these areas and report to the minister’s office from time to time.

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