Samoa's police commissioner, Papali'i Lorenese Neru, says he has the authority to release prisoners for employment outside the two main prisons in Upolu and Savai'i islands.
According to the police commissioner this is authorized under the Prisoners act 1967.
Papali'i says that under the act he has the power to employ prisoners outside the precincts of the prison in which they are housed.
His comments follow criticism of two prisoners who worked as mechanics for the Minister of Police, Tole'afoa Apulu Fa'afisi.
Papali'i says the employment of prisoners outside is consistent with prison management practices favoring corrections rather than containment and it's not new.
The commissioner points out that only inmates who have served a specified minimum of their sentence and have shown good conduct are eligible for such employment.