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DOH condemns prison buildings — kitchen, bathroom, Max Security

Territorial Correctional Facility, TCF
However, inmates continue to use the kitchen to cook food, directed by Warden

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Territorial Correctional Facility’s (TCF) Maximum Security, a bathroom and cafeteria buildings were closed down permanently last week by officials from the Department of Public Health (DOH), due to the unsafe health conditions.

This was confirmed to Samoa News by a senior DOH official, along with several TCF guards.

A senior DOH official stated that after their visit at the TCF last week, it was the recommendation by their team leader that the cafeteria is not safe for use, and it needed to be condemned immediately.

DOH officials paid an unexpected visit to the TCF last week, after receiving a lot of complaints from family members of several inmates.

A source stated to Samoa News that all the inmates held inside the Max Security (MS) building have now been transferred to other units inside TCF, due to the fact that there was no electricity nor water inside the building. The location is also not safe for anyone to live in nor sleep in, according to the source.

“The situation of the Max Security is really bad. This is not a place for a human being, however, all inmates who violated TCF’s rules such as escape from confinement, were detained at the Max Security. I’m glad that this place is now closed down permanently by the DOH,” the source claims.

A source also told Samoa News that after the visit from several DOH officials along with their Deputy Director last week, several signs of “condemned” were attached to the cafeteria. DOH officials also notified TCF officials about their decision to condemn the cafeteria due to the bad conditions. Photos were taken of the cafeteria, bathroom and MS.

“Something needed to be done to the cafeteria. The inside situation of the cafeteria is really bad, dirty and unsafe for inmates. There is only one big pot that is used to cook food for inmates. We need a new cafeteria to make sure we have a safe place to cook food for the inmates,” another source said.

Despite the decision from DOH officials to condemn the cafeteria, a source stated that inmates are still using the cafeteria to cook food under directions from the Warden.

Two prison guards confirmed to Samoa News that the cafeteria was condemned by DOH officials last week, and that inmates are still using the cafeteria to cook their food under the direction from TCF leaders, because there is no other place inmates can use to cook their food.

“TCF officials understand the decision by DOH officials to condemn the building, however, there is a need for a place to cook food for inmates,” one guard told Samoa News.

Another guard stated that once the cafeteria was closed down, a Watch Commander at TCF allowed a “drop-off” for inmates, to make sure the families would provide food for inmates.

Meanwhile, several changes have been made to weekend visitations, in an effort to make sure no illegal contraband enters the TCF compound.

One of the changes is the number of family members who are now allowed to enter the gate during visitation, which is now decreased to 3 people per inmate. Visitation time has also been decreased down from three hours to one hour on the weekends.