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Source — Samoa Observer

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Samoa: weekend parole “common sense law” claims Prison Minister

The Minister of Prison and Correction Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt has defended the weekend parole programme for prisoners claiming it is “common sense law.”

Tialavea’s comments was made during an interview when he emphasized the importance of weekend parole, not only for the Ministry, but also for the inmates.

“*Let’s say if an inmate is incarcerated for 10 years without any release, and upon release, he or she will be lost. *

It’s like you left a dark room that you’ve been sitting in for 10 years, they are ready to see the outside world again, because the inmate has no idea what’s going on.

According to the Minister, prior to releasing the inmates to their families on the weekends, the families are contacted to see if they will allow for the inmate to stay with them.

“*We don’t release the inmates just based on their good behavior. There are requirements including the input of the inmate’s family. *

“*Some families don’t want their family member to come home for reasons the Prison Services are not privy to. *

“*This was one of the issues the Court has had about weekend parole. *

I understand the law but we are using the common sense law.

He gave an example.

“*There are inmates who are trustworthy and are obedient and their good work has to be rewarded. *

“*And that is why they conduct themselves as law-abiding citizens, so they can visit their families on the weekend. *

Now say you have been on your best behavior and been a good inmate. The time comes for you to be released for weekend parole, and that privilege has been taken away, how would you feel?

We are all human beings… so the end result is that this inmate will go back to being that careless person who will not bother to be a law-abiding citizen knowing there is no reward for good behaviour.

These are the issues that we are dealing with at the prison,” said Tialavea.

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