27 Sep 2005

Vanuatu government to renovate some prisons with plans to build new ones

8:09 pm on 27 September 2005

The Vanuatu government is to renovate some of the prisons around the country which are described as being in an appalling state.

The Public Service Commission secretary, Mark Bebe, says it's true that the two main prisons in Port Vila and Luganville are in a desperate state with cracked walls, leaking roofs and overcrowding.

He says he's aware that there are some rooms of only 5 square metres, containing 5 to 7 people, who are without beds and sleeping on the floor.

Mr Bebe says they hope to build new prisons within the next couple of years but work is about to get underway at the existing facilities.

"We are trying our best now to try and renovate some of the prisons for temporary purposes, for another two years or so, during which time we should be embarking on the building the permanent prisons in the country which we hope will be funded by the New Zealand government."

Mr Bebe says next month, the Vanuatu Correctional Services will come into being.

And, this will establish probation services alongside corrections.