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Prisons seek $4.35million more

The Ministry for Prisons and Corrections Services is seeking a further $4.35 million to complete the Tanumalala Prison that has already cost the Government $18.2million.

The proposal is revealed in the supplementary budget tabled by the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, in Parliament on Tuesday. 

The Ministry is also asking for $45,500 to pay a doctor to treat the prisoners at the prison.

"One of the biggest issues faced by the Ministry is securing a prisoner to be transported to the hospital should he/she require medical attention," Sili revealed in the budget. 

"Further, transportation of the prisoner will mean taking corrections officers away from their posts at the prions.  Having a prison doctor on call will address these issues."

The Tanumalala prison was officially opened in June 2019. 

It includes six cell blocks, an administration building for prison staff, a medical clinic as well as a chapel with a high security fence.

The proposed budget includes $806,549 retention.

"Following the inclusion of this provision within the Main Estimates, the Ministry reviewed the construction contracts and ascertained that the Retention had to be paid out within the last fiscal year 2018/19.  Payment for retention was therefore made with savings in the previous fiscal year while the current provision will be reshuffled for other priorities of the prison," the budget reads.

The M.P.C.S. proposes that staff quarters will cost $1.15 million. 

“The Prison at Tanumalala is now near completion and fully operations.  It is noted that a staff quarters is required to alleviate transportation costs to the staff as well as to minimize loss of staff due to the distance of the new prison.  It is intended that the staff quarters will ensure a fully staffed prison.” 

This is what Minister SIli revealed about the Prisons:

Ministry for Prisons and Corrections Services - $4,350,729:

Staff Quarters ($1,150,000)

 The Prison at Tanumalala is now near completion and fully operations.  It is noted that a staff quarters is required to alleviate transportation costs to the staff as well as to minimize loss of staff due to the distance of the new prison.  It is intended that the staff quarters will ensure a fully staffed prison.

Additional Staff ($330,683)

15 new corrections officers are being requested under this First Supplementary Budget.  The Ministry for Prisons has reported that they still have insufficient number of staff to fully monitor the prison at Tanumalala particularly given the increase in the number of prisoners;

Perimeter and AntiClimb Fence ($1,300,000)

The provision is to complete the perimeter fence as well as the anticlimb fence for the Tanumalala Prison to minimize the number of escapees.

 Miscellaneous Remaining Works for Tanumalala  ($1,351,446)

A list of remaining works has been submitted by the Ministry for Prisons to fully complete the development within the current financial year.  The provision includes completion of the road, water tank, standby generator and others.  It is anticipated that once completed, no other funding will be required in the new year 2020/21;

 Assets for Town Cleaning ($34,500)

The town cleaning initiative continues under the juvenile program and a list of cleaning equipment has been submitted to assist the prisoners in their work;

 On Call Allowances ($138,600)

The allowance will ensure that the prison is fully staffed at any given time or shift in a 24hour day so that on-call corrections officers can be called in to replace anyone that does not show up.

 Prison Doctor ($45,500)

One of the biggest issues faced by the Ministry is securing a prisoner to be transported to the hospital should he/she require medical attention.  Further, transportation of the prisoner will mean taking corrections officers away from their posts at the prions.  Having a prison doctor on call will address these issues.

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