12 Sep 2006

American Samoa takes a new approach to dealing with drug offenders

6:42 pm on 12 September 2006

An American Samoan judge has broken new ground by not jailing a man for possession of methamphetamine.

Instead chief justice, Michael Kruse, has fined Hipa Neria twenty thousand dollars and allowed him to attend drug treatment off island.

Judge Kruse told the court when sentencing Neria that it was time for as different approach to sending drug offenders to jail for long periods.

He says the drug treatment programme in Honolulu provides for a social detoxification phase as well as an outpatient phase.