The Vanuatu justice minister, Thomas Laken, says he wants detainees to serve their sentences in their respective islands, with new detention centres being built.
During a visit to the Port Vila jail, Mr Laken told them that it was time to take a new direction to address concerns over the detention of inmates in the capital.
There have been a number of escapes and Mr Laken says money had to be spent to recapture the fugitives.
In one case four years ago, an inmate was recaptured and killed by police with apparent impunity.
Mr Laken says sending detainees to their islands, they can benefit from the services and support from the church, custom and community leaders.
Mr Laken says new detention centers will be build this year on Tanna and Santo.