Transparency International in Papua New Guinea says there's a lack of political will to act on the findings of a UN mission that uncovered evidence of beatings of inmates, excessive police force and appalling prison conditions.
Transparency's chair, Peter Aitsi says he was surprised by the level of brutality found by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, during his fact-finding mission to PNG.
Mr Aitsi says it's a reflection of a breakdown in the command and control structures of the corrections system and police force, but he's not confident the authorities will act to rectify the problem.
"There'a a lack of political will to deal with these issues. In terms of the public's response, they have no confidence at all in the police force, and when you get that kind of situation in society you start to get a breakdown in the trust in the justice process. And so the people unfortunately feel no comfort in going to the police so they take matters into their own hands."
Peter Aitsi says the wealthy and powerful are able to protect themselves when there's a lack of law and order, which may explain the lack of action from politicians.