Vice Speaker calls on Corrections to do their job
Updated: Jul 21
Vice Speaker of the House, Fetu Fetui Jr, did not mince words when addressing the issue of inmates breaking out of jail on many occasions and breaking into family homes, businesses and government offices.
The Speaker also questioned whether the Department of Corrections was waiting for someone to die at the hands of the inmates escaping from the Tafuna Correctional Facility.
The Vice Speaker expressed concerns during a hearing before the House of Representatives yesterday regarding inmates escaping from the TCF daily.
Those who appeared for the Department of Corrections are Director Tauanuu Semu Tauanuu, Warden Papalii Marion Fitisemanu and Director of Works Faleosina Voigt.
Fetu said it is shocking that inmates are escaping daily, yet the Department is not taking the necessary actions to address the issues to ensure inmates remain behind bars.
He said it is the same excuse over the years: insufficient Correction Officers. Warden Papalii Marion Fitisemanu explained that 326 inmates and 12 Correction Officers are assigned for each shift.
However, some of the Officers call in sick or take leave. Also, of the 12 Officers, some are transferred to the Women’s jail.
He said from the 326 inmates, 202 inmates have their cases pending in court. Another issue is the structure of the TCF, with several buildings making it difficult to monitor the prisoners. Fetu also blamed the Correction Officers for not doing their job and urged Papalii to investigate.
Regarding the incomplete fence surrounding the TCF, Director of Public Works Faleosina Voigt confirmed during the hearing that TCF Management submitted a request for funding from ARPA to complete the wall.