12 Feb 2009

Samoa victims' supporter calls for wider parole board representation

3:51 pm on 12 February 2009

The Samoa Victim Support Group is calling for wider representation on the parole board, as the government today considers a review of the weekend parole system.

The programme, in place for 40 years, was suspended at the beginning of the month following the beating of an elderly taxi driver by a weekend parole prisoner.

Our correspondent in Samoa says the public wants the programme scrapped but the support group maintains inmates with strong family relationships benefit from spending time with their relatives.

But the chief executive, Masoe Iosefa Tautua, would like wider representation on the parole board.

"If we are involved, if an NGO who is dealing with the victims all the time because you know the Ministry is just dealing with the offenders, if they can get a point of view from the side of the victims to balance the thing, then you know we really appreciate that."

Masoe Iosefa Tautua says if prisoners' suitability were screened more carefully, the rate of offending while on weekend parole would drop.