BY STARZA PAUL
Hawa Jail in Hela will soon open its doors to accommodate prisoners again after its closer due to an El Nino spell in the mid-1990s, says Correctional Service Commissioner Stephen Pokanis.
Commissioner Pokanis told the Sunday Chronicle that this facility was built through the decision made by late Governor of Hela Province – Anderson Agiru and his government.
“The consultation between Governor Undialu, Minister Roy Biyama, Hela Provincial Government and Correctional Service is for both parties to work together to get the basic maintenance done and have the Institution open by July 2019.
“We expect to have low risk detainees move to Hawa Correctional Institution within a month’s time. They will help the officers to carry out institution cleaning and also support the technical officers with the ongoing minor maintenance work,” he said.
Mr Pokanis said that the structure of the correctional facility is in good order apart from the major defects due to wear and tear since its construction in the mid-1990s.
He said that the Hela Government under the leadership of Governor Philip Undialu has provided over K200,000 for the maintenance of the defects at the institution. More support is going to the institution directly from the Hela Provincial Government.
“Few works that need to be done are the sewerage work within the detainees’ dormitories; restore water, and carpentry work to staff houses and office.
Mr Pokanis mentioned that other major works are to do with perimeter fence around the Correctional Institution, an additional dormitory for female detainees, and a sustainable water supply to the institution. All these major work will be captured in the 2020 CS Budget and also from the Hela Provincial Government budget.
“At the moment, there are 14 officers currently on site at Hawa Correctional Institution under the command of Sergeant Simon Kitingi. Most of these officers are technical officers who are currently carrying out the maintenance work at the institution.
“Two more officers will join them this month to support the officers on the ground with plumbing and carpentry work. We are looking for additional funds to restore water, and other essential services before we consider opening the institution,” he said.
He said that they are also looking at relocating families of the officers to move to Hawa Correctional Institution once all safety and security measures are met.
“Correctional Service is mandated to have Correctional Institutions in all provinces. Since that time up to now, any detainee from Hela Province had to serve their prison in Bui-iebi (SHP), or Baisu (WHP).
Hela Provincial Government is providing all the funds to do minor rehabilitation and maintenance work.
Mr Pokanis said that support from the Provincial Government is very good as there is a strong urgency from the leaders of Hela to have Hawa Correctional Institution opened immediately.
He stated that Correctional Service will assist also with funds when funds are identified, to partner with Hela Provincial Government, and the National Government.