Ads by Google Ads by Google

Latest TCF escapee taken back into custody in Aua

Territorial Correctional Facility TCF
Nu’uuli residents call on the the govt to keep the prisoners behind bars

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Despite the high ‘cement’ walls, the Tafuna Correctional Facility on Thursday afternoon once again saw the escape of an inmate; and, this latest escape has again led to a number of local residents calling for an overhaul of the prison to stop further escapes.

Pou Launiu, who was willing to be identified, told Samoa News, this is becoming the norm where prisoners escape from jail, some are seen at local stores shopping for “alcohol” and also the public is “not informed” when these prisoners escape.

Samoa News made numerous efforts to get comments from the Director of the Department of Correction Services, Tauanuu Semu Faisiota Taunuu but was unsuccessful.

Samoa News also contacted the governor’s office Chief of Staff Loa Tauapa’i Laupola for comments via email and what action the administration will take re this ongoing predicament.

The latest took place on Thursday, when an inmate escaped from TCF and was apprehended by police in Aua after tips were received from residents in the area who had spotted the prisoner.

While earlier this month repeat offenders Joeita Fa’aaliga and Joseph Iakopo were charged and are now facing charges of escaping from the TCF and breaking into businesses in the Tafuna Industrial Park and Nu’uuli.

Fa’aaliga and Iakopo were charged with escape from confinement on January 25, and they were arraigned in the High Court on Feb. 9.

According to the government’s case, on January 25, 2023, a corrections officer contacted the police requesting assistance to look out for escaped inmate Fa’aaliga however not long after, it was Iakopo instead who was observed by an off-duty corrections officer inside a store.

Iakopo was trying to buy a case of beer when off-duty officer Vagai saw Iakopo.

The report says watch Commander Sgt. Taai then contacted a corrections officer posted at Alpha and Bravo Facility at TCF where Iakopo was held and it was confirmed that he was not in his cell.

However, the report says, a few minutes later Iakopo was back in his cell, but officers observed that Fa’aaliga was not in his cell.

“Inmate's Fa’aaliga and Iakopo were both in disciplinary action for previous escape cases.”