The Papua New Guinea government has banned the issue of firearms to prison guards because so many guns are being sold to criminals.
The prisons' minister, Peter Oresi, issued the ban following an investigation which revealed most rifles were lost, stolen or unaccounted for.
Prison guards are issued with semi-automatic rifles to try to keep prisoners from breaking out of the jails.
But reports say some senior wardens, who are involved with crime gangs, trade weapons and regularly assist prisoners to escape.
The weapons ban does not apply to senior executives of the prison service because their personal security is at risk.