7 Feb 2023

First prisoners moved into new prison in New Caledonia

10:54 am on 7 February 2023
Noumea Prison security fence, New Caledonia.

Photo: Supplied

The first few prisoners have been transferred to New Caledonia's new jail in Kone from the overcrowded Camp-Est prison in Noumea.

The facility, which cost more than $US50 million to build, has been opened after several months' delay.

It has the capacity to accommodate 120 inmates who will be offered rehabilitation programmes.

The distance between Kone and Noumea is 265km, which is about three hours driving time.

At the beginning of the month, the Camp-Est jail held more than 600 prisoners despite an official capacity of 410.

Up to four people are forced to share cells smaller than 13 square metres, which a leading local lawyer says is a lot less space than is mandatory for a dog in a kennel.

The conditions have been repeatedly found to be unacceptable, but to date the French state has not built enough prison cells to end the overcrowding.

Ambulances torched

Two ambulances have been destroyed in an arson in the north of New Caledonia.

A total of three vehicles used in the health care sector were set on fire in a parking area in Poindimie.

The damage has caused disruption to services and forced the deferment of patient appointments.

The public broadcaster La Premiere said a suspect has been taken into custody for questioning.