Samoa minister lobbies for creation of convict construction group

Samoa's government wants to use prisoners to build new housing projects.

The Samoa Observer reported the Minister of Police and Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, was seeking Cabinet approval for the establishment of a contractor group made up of low-risk prisoners.

Construction work done by inmates at the $US300,000 Vaia'ata prison project in Savai'i, was recently halted due to a lack of building permits.

In 2011 a trained master builder, serving a life sentence for murder, led a group of inmates who built a church building at Tafaigata Prison.

Tialavea said the unnamed prisoner also helped build two supermarket buildings and assisted other prisoners to learn carpentry.