23 Dec 2009

American Samoa's Chief Justice wants answers on mental health facility

11:45 am on 23 December 2009

American Samoa's Chief Justice, Michael Kruse, has issued subpoenas for anyone involved in the construction of a mental health facility after becoming frustrated at the lack of progress in the project.

The Chief Justice says the High Court has been trying for too long to find out what is being done to house offenders with mental health problems, instead of having them locked up with the general prison population at the Territorial Correctional Facility.

Justice Kruse was speaking during a hearing involving a man with a mental disability who is being held in jail, rather than a mental health unit.

He was told construction of the facility, which was to start next month, has been delayed four or five months.

Justice Kruse says the Government's lawyers are becoming a broken record on the issue and he has summoned all officials involved to court next month to explain.

Meanwhile the Government says a two-storey facility is been planned with funding to be sought from Washington.