30 Jan 2018

Samoa prison official admits fault in escapes

8:44 pm on 30 January 2018

Samoa's Assistant Commissioner for Prisons admits failures to carry out duties led to the recent spate of prison escapes.

Part of Tafaigata prison cells

Part of Tafaigata prison cells Photo: RNZI / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Ulugia Niuia Aumua said the authorities were taking all the blame for the several escapes that had occured from Tafaigata prison over the past few weeks.

However Ulugia said the latest two prisoners to escape had now handed themselves in voluntarily.

They are now kept in a special cell with 11 other high risk prisoners, including others who escaped just before Christmas.

Ulugia said prison management had to do better.

"I can understand the criticism, knowing that these prisoners were brought here to be in safe, secure custody," he admitted.

"But because of the current spate of escapes, we are concerned we are starting to lose the confidence of the public. We are can't hide from that."

Last week the prime minister called for prison staff to get fitter so they could do their job better, while another MP has called for the reintroduction of a punishment cell that had been decommissioned following human rights concerns.

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