12 Apr 2011

Call for solutions other than prison for American Samoa's domestic violence offenders

7:12 pm on 12 April 2011

American Samoa's Public Defender would like more resources made available to offer solutions other than jail to those charged with domestic violence offences.

A departing prosecutor, James Zarones, has called for a review of criminal justice laws and says he has been confronted by cases where wives and children are badly beaten, yet no-one goes to jail.

But the Public Defender in American Samoa, Ruth Risch Fuatagavi, doesn't feel there is a problem with the legislation, rather the lack of alternatives to prison:

"It's very unusual here for us to see a domestic violence case to come up that dosen't involve either drug or alcohol abuse and here we don't have any extensive treatment programmes for people who suffer from either drug or alcohol."

She says they also don't have much in the way of diversion programmes such as counselling, and feels often the prosecution isn't looking at the long-term outcome for the family.