The Department of Corrections is today working to offer support to staff and prisoners affected by events in the Pacific Islands over the last two days.
“Approximately 11 percent of our prisoner population, and 9 percent of our staff identify as Pacific peoples. We have in the past conducted successful recruitment campaigns in Samoa. Some staff may have lost friends and family, some will be waiting for confirmation of loved ones being found and all will be saddened by the destruction to life and property that has occurred,” said Chief Executive Barry Matthews.
“Yesterday I emailed all employees, expressing the Department’s sympathy for those people affected. I have encouraged staff to speak with their managers about taking leave from work if they feel they need to and all have been provided with contact details for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Samoan High Commission and the Department’s provider of counselling services, EAP Services.”
“Prisoners face obvious difficulties in communicating with family during this period, however they suffer the same concerns as staff and members of the public. We will be providing prisoners with additional phone calls and visits from family where appropriate as well as utilising support from Fautua Pasefika, Prison Chaplains and other members of the community. Some prisoners may be eligible to apply for temporary release from prison to attend memorial services if they have lost relatives, in other cases small services may be held within the prison.”
The Department has also expressed sympathies to Masinalupe Tusipa Masinalupe, Chief Executive Officer of the Samoan Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration who was in New Zealand meeting with Government agencies, including Corrections, and had to cut his trip short to return home to Samoa.
For further information contact the Communications Services Desk:
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