Inmates praise the positive changes recently made at the TCF
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — There has been a lot of positive feedback from prison inmates, their families, and also several police officers regarding the many changes at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) in Tafuna.
Some of these changes include the installation of a new fence inside the TCF compound, to separate inmates from the area where the office is located; the construction of a new extension to the front portion of the main entrance; the better treatment of inmates and measures taken to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the prison guards; and the presence of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit during family visitation on the weekend.
Samoa News visited the TCF Thursday morning and confirmed the many changes some inmates have alluded to. Other changes include the erection of two new fences inside the TCF compound, and another fence around the entire compound, separate from the old outside fence that is visible from the road.
Samoa News receives — almost every week — information from inmates about the occurrences at the TCF.
This week, Samoa News was told by several inmates, of the many positive changes at TCF, under the watch of the new Warden, Tauese Va’aomala Sunia.
One inmate said there is more going on at the TCF right now, with regards to safety issues involving inmates and prison guards, and the effort in stopping illegal drugs from entering the prison.
“The food is perfect,” reported one inmate. “We have a lot of food supply right now. The Warden told us that his main priority is for the prison to be in good condition and that everyone in the compound, including the guards and himself, are safeguarded. The treatment of inmates is good now, compared to … when we were treated like animals. The prison is now more like home where you can relax and look forward to a good meal every day."
Another inmate told Samoa News that since last month, one of the positive changes he's seen is the presence of detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit during weekend visitations.
“I want this place to be a drug-free place for all of us who are serving time. We all are convicts of different crimes but that doesn’t mean we don't want this place to be safe. I hate when family members of other inmates try to smuggle drugs inside the prison. That’s why I salute the warden for these new changes. This was something that should've been done many years ago, but I’m glad it has finally happened,” said one inmate.
A prison guard who is not authorized to speak to the media told Samoa News that ever since Tauese took over as warden, there have been a lot of new changes at the TCF. He pointed to the new extension to the main office and said that before, not everyone on staff could fit inside the office and usually only about 2 people would sit inside the AC room while others would have to wait their turn. But now, everyone can be inside.
The guard also confirmed that members of the Vice & Narcotics Unit are now assisting prison guards in checking family members during weekend visitations, in an effort to make sure no more illegal drugs enter the facility.
“The sole purpose of all the new changes is to make sure everyone inside TCF is safe, not only the inmates — but also the staff. Safety is the number one priority our new boss has emphasized ever since he came into office,” the prison guard concluded.