Suspended officer,  Superintendent Judy Tara

 Senior Correctional Service (CS)  officer who  was issued a suspension notice as acting commander of Lae’s  Buimo Prison has repeated calls for a perimeter fence  and for authorities to  provide funding to ease the overcrowding in in Buimo.

Correctional Service Superintendent Judy Tara,  was served a suspension notice  but pointed out that no formal appointments  for a commander or acting commander was made since the  previous commander took up a post in Port Moresby.

The main prison compound is manned by three officers

She has however accepted the suspension as the senior officer responsible but  called on the government to increase  manpower and fix the root causes for the ongoing prison breakouts:

With more than 60 prisoners still on the run,  the Buimo prison  administration has come under fire both from the public and from headquarters.  Today Judy Tara, the senior officer who   previously acted as commander on seven occasions was served  the  suspension notice.

But there  remains uncertainty over the commanders position. Tara says technically, no official appointment was made  for  the commander’s post .

“My suspension is effective as of today,” Superintendent Tara said.  “However, I was not given formal instruments by the Commissioner to take up the [prison] Commander’s role.”

Clothes left by prisoners who escaped
Main prison compound

            Superintendent Tara has  raised longstanding issues that contributed to  previous jailbreaks and  the one on Thursday (25thFebruary).

            A perimeter fence is needed. More staff are needed  for the prisoner population of  more than 700. 

            Coincidentally,  she  had just ended   discussions with the Lae MP,  Loujaya Kouza on Thursday about funding for a perimeter fence when  the jailbreak happened.

            “This is an issue I’ve brought up many times and also at the Commander’s conferences.”

            An investigation report submitted to the Correctional Service Commissioner’s office in 2015 following  two successive mass jailbreaks highlighted the problems raised again today. 

            The key factors that contributed to the breakouts  still have not been addressed.


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