Samoa's minister of finance has defended the government's plan to invest nearly $US8 million in the Tanumalala Prison project.
Sili Epa Tuioti said conditions inside Tafaigata Prison are inhumane and overcrowded and construction of the new jail needs to start before costs escalate.
The minister told the Samoa Observer the country needs to spend the money to ensure prisoners stop escaping and hurting innocent people.
He saud the current prison was not providing any rehabilitation programmes and the new facility will be a highly secure, clean environment.
He said it was a good investment that will contribute to the Samoa's economic development and that he would work hard to ensure the resources are available to complete it.