Since the merger of the Samoa Police Services and Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services in March 2020, among other set goals and initiatives, we have focused our attention on increased security at Tanumalala Prisons and simultaneously enhancing rehabilitation and assimilation programs for prisoners. As such, prisoners are now managing their own cattle farm with over 70 heads of cattle, cultivating vegetable gardens, expanding their taro and banana plantations, including chicken and pig farms at the three prison sites (Tanumalala, Olomanu, and Vaiaata). The harvest from these efforts will eventually be used by the prisoners themselves to supplement their daily food supply.
Further, for rehabilitation and assimilation purposes, qualified prisoners are now methodically furloughed to clean up our communities, particularly in the town area. The supervised work release program is solely for the benefit of the public and to prepare the prisoner for his or her eventual release back into the community. Therefore, do not be alarmed when you see them in public dressed in their blue overalls with ‘Prisons’ printed in yellow letters on the front and back of their overalls.
These low-risk prisoners have volunteered to perform these community works, which include picking up trash in and around town and along the seawall, pruning of trees and shrubberies, and perform roadside maintenance to the various arteries leading into town; in addition, they do general cleaning and mowing alongside the Tuanaimato Sports Complex.
Interestingly, these qualified prisoners have verbalized how self-fulfilling it is to help those who really need help; therefore, they go the extra mile when performing general cleaning and mowing at a compound where the elderlies are housed located east of Apia.
Assisting with rehabilitation, additional programs are being introduced such as a barbershop and bakery where prisoners groom themselves and cook and bake for themselves—this is to list only a couple of examples. We are also engaged with several religious organisations to assist in the spiritual side of things.
Our ultimate goal is to ensure not only the safety of our staff but also those of the prisoners. Additionally, through collaborative measures, we strive to increase the odds of successful assimilation (and decrease the chance of reoffending) when a prisoner has served his or her time in prison and subsequently released back into society.