The Oloimanu Juvenile Center has gone full circle since it was established by government five years ago. Today you just need to visit Oloimanu to see that Warden Taefu Niko Vili Ifopo and his team have done wonders with the 300 acres allocated for the Center to rehabilitate the young offenders.
Oloimanu is literally running out of land from the vast agricultural investments spear-headed by the veteran law enforcer.
“We have planted the entire 300 acres with pineapples, taro, coconuts, manioka, bananas, and hopefully cocoa and coffee once the Ministry of Agriculture gives us the OK to be part of the Stimulus Package to revive cocoa, coffee and coconuts,” said Taefu.
“We even have our own tilapia fish farm. And afforded more resources the possibilities of intensifying live stock farming such as piggery, poultry, sheep and cattle are endless.
“And its blessing to have our with Minister’s (Tialavea Fea Leniu Tionisio Hunt) support and lead to take Samoa’s Prison and Correctional to the next level and be self sustain when it comes to food supplies.
“Labour is not an issue as we have over 60 able bodies,” added Taefu explaining that under the Centre’s code, the juveniles are called students or intakes and not inmates. “Seven of our students are now in charge of the 100 acre taro plantation at Tanumalala where the new prison complex will be constructed.
“That is the plan that once the new prison is commissioned, we will have the capacity to feed over 600 inmates reducing the reliance of public funds.”
And Prison Minister Tialavea with his Associate Minister So’oalo Mene agrees that the need for more land is genuine.
“The current budget allocates $300,000 for the prison services food supplies,” noted the Minister. “That alone cannot sustain the 600 inmates at Tafaigata and Oloimanu not to mention the big island of Savai’i 12 months years.
“So the need to subsidize and improvise is authentic.
“The priority is for Prison and Correctional to meet its own needs on its own.
“And once that is accomplished the next phase is the revenue generating partnership with other government agencies, hotel and retail shops,” says Minister Tialavea.
“Cattle farming is now a priority and we are in the process of tapping into the Prison’s Savings Account to buy more cattle to complement the herd of 20 left. “The Savings Account by the way are revenues from sales of agricultural crops grown by prisoners.
“The investment is that once we are on full swing with all the resources available, the prisons will be able to independently generate dire revenues not only to meet their needs but also to fund rehabilitational activities to ensure that once they walk out of the prison doors, they have hope to become asserts and not liabilities to our society.”