Plans for new prison on Savaii

Samoa's minister of prisons says plans are being drawn up to build a new prison on the big island of Savaii.

Tialavea Tionisio Hunt said with 40 inmates, the current prison at Vaia'ata is overcrowded and needs upgrading.

"The prison house at Vaiaata looks like a family house with barred windows and a door. It's not your typical prison house and quite frankly I don't think any other prison in the world looks like the one we have in Savaii," said Tialavea.

"We need to upgrade the prison facilities that house the prisoners. The prison house that exists right now is overcrowded with the 40 prisoners serving time in Vaiaata, hence why we are planning to build a prison building block similar to the ones being built at Tanumalala," he added.

Tialavea said the government's plan is to build a prison block with the capacity to house 100 inmates and a new administration office building.

The minister said the old administration building would be developed into a living quarters for police officers and the open fale turned in to a Chapel.

He said there were also plans to create cocoa, taro and banana plantations at Vaiaata, whose crops could provide food for all three of Samoa's prisons - Tanumalala, Oloamanu and Vaiaata.

He said the banana and taro crops would be exported; however, the taro could be held back if there was not enough food for the three prisons.

The plan is to use revenue generated from the exported crops to fund the food budget for all three prison facilities.

The new Vaia'ata prison is estimated to cost about $US230,000 and will be submitted to cabinet for consideration.


Photo file. Caption: Tafaigata Prison cell block