Prison conditions overall were harsh and remained below international standards.
Physical Conditions: As of October there were approximately 481 inmates in the prison system, including 35 women and 50 juveniles. The Tafaigata men’s prison, the country’s most crowded, had 29 cells of various sizes, with eight century-old concrete cells that measured approximately 30 feet by 30 feet and held 26 to 30 inmates each, plus nine maximum-security cells that held four inmates each. Authorities made only basic provisions for food, water (including potable water), and sanitation. Cell lighting and ventilation remained poor. Lights remained on all night. The eight concrete cells were upgraded to include two toilets and one shower, while all other cells had one toilet and one shower shared communally.
The separate Tafaigata women’s prison had five cells approximately 30 feet by 30 feet, and each held 10 to 15 inmates. There was also a separate holding cell for female inmates awaiting trial and a security cell. Physical conditions, including ventilation and sanitation, generally were better in the women’s prison than in the men’s prison.
Authorities housed juveniles (under age 21) at the Olomanu Juvenile Center, where physical conditions generally were better than in adult facilities. Authorities housed the 50 juveniles in three separate buildings where they lived as a community in a 300-acre compound.
Police held overnight detainees in two cells at police headquarters in Apia and one cell at Tuasivi. The cells had good lighting, sanitation, and ventilation.
There were no prison deaths.
Administration: Police kept prisoner files on sentencing and parole. Courts regularly used community service hours and suspended sentences as alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.
The law mandates the Office of the Ombudsman receive and investigate the complaints of prisoners and detainees on problems of overcrowding, the status and circumstances of juvenile offenders, and pretrial detention, bail, and recordkeeping. Prisoners also could file complaints with the Professional Standards Unit. In August the ombudsman completed a commission of inquiry, begun in 2012, of allegations of police abuse of prisoners, corruption, and misconduct.
Officials permitted prisoners escorted hospital visits for medical checks as necessary. A room at police headquarters served as a medical clinic, but no doctor or nurse was assigned to the facility.
Regulations require prisoners at all facilities, including the juvenile facility, to do manual labor approximately 40 hours per week. Prisoners generally performed agricultural work and cooked food for inmates and prison staff.
The government permitted family members and church representatives to visit prisons weekly, often on Sundays when families could bring food and clothing.
Authorities permitted prisoners and detainees religious observance and allowed them to submit complaints to judicial authorities and request investigation of alleged inhuman conditions. Authorities investigated such allegations, documented them, and made the results publicly accessible. The government generally investigated and monitored prison and detention center conditions.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted monitoring visits by independent human rights observers, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and diplomatic missions.