15 Apr 2008

Vanuatu government removes prisoner release provision

10:06 pm on 15 April 2008

Vanuatu's prime minister says the government has removed a provision in the Correctional Services Act which allows temporary release for prison inmates.

Ham Lini assured the public and business community of the removal after the provision was blamed for the increase in the number of criminal activities in and around Port Vila.

Around 30 prisoners have escaped from the capital's prison facility in the past two months, co-inciding with a recent increase in crime.

The Daily Post newspaper reports that the public has voiced growing outrage over the lawlessness, and chiefs have had to step in to control the community from taking matters into their own hands.

Now all inmates would not be allowed outside the correctional service centre until they complete their terms inside.

Police and Vanuatu Mobile Force said escapees who had terrorised Port Vila for over two weeks until their recapture at the weekend, have apologised to the public for their criminal behaviour.

Their crimes included rape, assault and theft.