23 Sep 2013

Samoa prison cells overcrowded and prompting escapes

7:55 am on 23 September 2013

The Tafaigata prison in Samoa is overcrowded, with double the maximum number of inmates in cells.

A commission of inquiry investigating allegations of abuse of power, corruption and mismanagement has heard from the acting assistant commissioner of the prison.

Tuna'imati'a Fa'a'esea Lautala has told the inquiry that there are eight cells with forty inmates each, instead of the maximum of twenty.

The security block, or pasima, has nine cells for high profile offenders and reoffending prisoners that should house ten inmates. However that block also has twice as many as it can hold.

Tuna'imati'a also says there are several escapes, mostly among young offenders wanting to see their relatives, or in need of food and money.