Major upgrades to facilities at Bomana Correctional Institution (BCI) has
boosted the Correctional Services’ ability to safely manage and house
detainees during the coronavirus pandemic. Detainees unwell with COVID-19
can now be held in safe and secure isolation from the general prison
population, following the official opening of the dedicated facilities.
The upgrade includes a 49-bed Separate Confinement Unit and a 15-bed Test
Compound to house unwell detainees and those awaiting test results. This is
part of Australia’s continued support to PNG’s COVID-19 preparedness and
The K1.17 million project, funded by the Australian Government through the
PNG-Australia Partnership, involved extensive works on the former Maximum
Security Institute to create a Separate Confinement Unit equipped with
upgraded security and living facilities – including amenities suitable for people
living with a disability – and the conversion of a disused building at the
Correctional Services Training College into a Test Compound for up to 15
detainees being transferred from other parts of the corrections system.
Correctional Service Minister Win Bakri Daki said the confinement of people
in close proximity to one another made prisons a high-risk environment for
He said this risk was amplified in many institutions by chronic over-crowding
and the opening of the Separate Confinement Unit and Testing Compound
was a major boost to Correctional Service’s efforts to safely manage detainees
infected, or suspected of carrying, the coronavirus.
“We are committed to helping tackle COVID-19 in PNG prisons. We also have
a duty of care for the health and safety of detainees, Correctional Service
officers and their families,” Minister Daki said.
“These facilities will go a long way to helping us fulfil that obligation by
enabling us to house infected detainees in isolation from the broader prison
Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp said the Australian Government was
committed to doing everything it could to help PNG combat COVID-19.
“These facilities are part of Australia’s broader support for PNG’s pandemic
response that will save lives and keep people safe.”
Mr Philp said in addition to funding the construction of the Separate
Confinement Unit and the Test Compound, the Australian Government had
provided the Correctional Services with cleaning supplies, personal protective
equipment and other vital supplies.
More broadly, Australia has sent expert medical teams and provided 8000
vaccine doses to PNG to inoculate frontline medical staff and emergency
workers against COVID-19, as well as ongoing support for extensive COVID19 public health campaigns.