CORRECTIONAL Services Commissioner Michael Waipo has appealed to all 208 escapees still on the run nationwide to surrender, according to Post-Courier report today.
His appeal comes after escapee Aipit Balos turned himself in to Bomana jail prison guards yesterday after 23 years on the run.
Mr Waipo said the action taken by Balos was an example others should follow to surrender.
“I urge other escapees to take heed and follow the fine example set by Balos. Their surrender will work in their favour in terms of rehabilitation and parole hearings.” Mr Waipo said.
“We do not have to run after every prisoner who escapes. When you escape you only endanger your lives, give yourself up and rest assured that we will work together with you to ensure that any issue you have within the prison is resolved.”
Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dennis Piandi said that the surrender of Mr Balos set an example for those who were still at large.
“I commend Balos for turning himself in and I am very happy that he decided to take this action which otherwise would have caused his family pain,” Mr Piandi said.
Earlier, Mr Waipo said that a total of 208 escapees were still at large according to last year’s records.
The numbers vary with a relatively small number recorded in Southern region jails compared with 103 escapee from Northern region jails.
Mr Waipo said that there were a number of issues that were hindering the capability of the CS to recapture the prisoners.
“Our capability is at a minimum but there is some hope and we are hoping that rehabilitation will be a factor to get more stakeholders on board to assist and entice escapees to willingly come forward.”
“We want to do away with the environment and culture we have currently at the prisons and ensure the environment is friendly to assist the escapees to return,” Mr Waipo said, adding that the capacity, mobility, communications and the methods of the dissemination of information to the media was a problem that would be looked at.
“Relatives and friends are a good place to start when searching for escapees and we would like to get the families and friends of any escapees on board to ensure there is an opportunity for the escapees to return,” Mr Waipo said.