25 Jun 2009

New temporary prison facility in Vanuatu expected to curb escapes

7:20 pm on 25 June 2009

It's hoped the opening of a high risk prison unit in Vanuatu will help quell problems that led to high profile escapes in the past year.

The team leader for New Zealand Department of Corrections advisors in Vanuatu, Warwick Duell, says this is the first separate and secure facility the country has had for high risk offenders.

He says the 16 detainees, moved to the unit last week, have all either escaped previously or have behaved in a way that's led them to be classified as high risk.

He says separating them from other inmates will enable the prison population in Port Vila to be better managed.

"We think it will make a significant difference because the sort of people that are in there do tend to become ringleaders inside any institution and to separate them out from the Stade low-risk centre was important in being able to settle down the low-risk centre."

Warwick Duell says the new unit is a temporary facility that will be in place until land issues delaying the building of a new prison can be resolved.