11 Nov 2010

Inmate transfer recommended after PNG dysentery outbreak

2:37 pm on 11 November 2010

Health officials in Papua New Guinea are recommending prisoners be transferred from the jail where a dysentery outbreak sparked a mass escape while a decision is made on its future.

Staff from Mt Hagen Hospital have been inspecting Baisu jail where three prisoners are now confirmed to have died from dysentery.

Fear of the disease is believed to have led to the breakout, in which six inmates were shot dead.

Hospital Medical Director Michael Dokup says following the inspection they will present a report to the authorities recommending the prison either be closed or undergo a major renovation.

He says the jail is overcrowded with more than 300 prisoners, and sanitation and hygiene are a problem.

"The living quarters is a mess, the eating place is virtually non-existent, the place where they cook their own food, it's not a kitchen. It is an open space with a couple of copper boilers."

Dr Dokup says prisoners still being treated by hospital staff are improving.

Police say they have helped to transfer about 50 prisoners from the jail and more may be moved.