1 Jul 2019

Mass prisoner transfer in Samoa successful

10:05 am on 1 July 2019

Prisoners in Samoa have successfully been transferred from the old Tafa'igata facility to the new prison at Tanumalala.

Blocks at Tafa'igata prison in Samoa.

Samoa's old Tafa'igata prison is in a parlous state and had become over-crowded. Photo: RNZI/supplied Tipi

The $US6.8-million facility was opened by Samoa's prime minister on Friday and inmates were transferred on Saturday.

The Samoa Observer reports that over 400 prisoners are housed in the new facility and the transfer operation cost $US37-thousand.

The Ministry of Prisons and Correctional Services hired 10 buses for the transfer -- 15 trips were made by the motorcade.

The minister, Tialavea Tionisio Hun, says that about 80 people can fit into each of the six cell blocks at Tanumalala.

Moving to a new prison was partly a response to repeated jailbreaks at Tafa'igata, which has now been officially taken over by police.

Tialavea says that in the new prison, there are about 70 corrections officers and 10 prison guards who work at night, plus another ten who work the "graveyard shift".