14 Oct 2020

Samoa minister lobbies for creation of convict construction group

6:26 am on 14 October 2020

Samoa's government wants to use prisoners to build new housing projects.

Tanumalala high security prison.

Tanumalala high security prison. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Tipi Autagavaia

The Samoa Observer reported the Minister of Police and Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, was seeking Cabinet approval for the establishment of a contractor group made up of low-risk prisoners.

Construction work done by inmates at the $US300,000 Vaia'ata prison project in Savai'i, was recently halted due to a lack of building permits.

In 2011 a trained master builder, serving a life sentence for murder, led a group of inmates who built a church building at Tafaigata Prison.

Tialavea said the unnamed prisoner also helped build two supermarket buildings and assisted other prisoners to learn carpentry.