After continued numbers of convicts escaping, seemingly at will, Tafaigata Prison is finally getting a fence.
The Assistant Commissioner of Prison, Ulugia Niuia Aumua, said putting up the new fence is an initiative by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.
This ‘initiative’ comes three, long years after a report by the Ombudsman highlighted the fact that the lack of a fence was a major factor in the ongoing escapes by prisoners.
Since then, there have been regular reports of escaped prisoners, some of whom have committed serious crimes including rape and assault as well as petty thievery damage to property while at large in the community.
“Twelve months is a long time for the running of the prison and we need to be careful of escaped convicts,” said Ulugia.
He said they fear for the safety of the public and the fence will also be useful for whatever organization will be taking over when they move to their new location next year.
The security fence around the compound has a concrete foundation with a chain link fence.
It encloses the entire perimeter of the Tafaigata Prison including all the buildings from the women’s cells and the men’s cells.
The work is being done by Silva Transport.
Ulugia said the purpose is to have well secured prison and not to have the problems of having more and more prisoners escaping.
As for an update of when the new location at Tanumalala will be ready, Ulugia said he is not sure.
“What I can be sure of is that we are moving next year; but the exact date I am not sure of,” he said.
He said tenders have already been put out for a construction company to clear the 30 acre block.