admin's picture


By Sarai Ripine

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 28) - Two prisoners are working as mechanics for Samoa’s Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire Services, Toleafoa Le'aupepe Apulu Fa'afisi.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Toleafoa admitted it was a sensitive matter but pointed out that it was in accordance with a long-standing Police policy. Under that policy, the Commissioner of Police assesses prisoners who are remorseful and have undergone a noticeable change for the better. They are then released to serve their time outside prison, Toleafoa said.

Some prisoners are good, talented people who were jailed because of offences committed unintentionally, the Minister pointed out.

"They should be given a chance to improve their lives," he said.

The reason for this is to try to change them from living a bad life to living a good one, he said.

People should realize they shouldn't look down on prisoners "because they too are human beings."

Some prisoners are high-ranking individuals of the country, who after serving their time will make decisions for families, villages and churches, the Minister said. He said the prisoners living with him are given the chance to lead their evening prayers some times. They eat together often, he said, and his work is to observe and give advice when there are problems.

"I treat them like my sons," he said.

When they have served their time, we will still call them family, he said.

He said that one important aspect of their living together was that the prisoners' talents are used properly.

Prisoners who have expertise that aren't used, lose them when they are released.

It's best that their expertise is used outside of jail so that by the time they have served their sentences, they are still capable mentally of doing their work, Toleafoa believes.

He said that at the end of the week, he gives the prisoners money to buy food for their wives and children.

The money, however, isn't wages, or pay, he said.

This was one important aspect of placing prisoners outside of prison, especially those serving life terms, said Toleafoa, to work towards rehabilitation and help in the care of their children.

Staying in prison exposed them to other prisoners who behaved badly, who would ruin them, he said.

The prisoners living with them have changed in many ways for the better, Toleafoa said.

There is criticism of prisoners being released to stay with pastors, senior Police officers and other members of the community.

Toleafoa said those who criticize are people without love.

The practice had been Police policy before the present Commissioner of Police, Toleafoa said.

Prisoners who do not improve while working outside prison should be returned behind bars, he said.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment