The Construction of a new Correctional Centre for female offenders has commenced in Port Vila, with funding support from the New Zealand and Australian Governments.

“It is well known that correctional facilities in Port Vila are old buildings from the colonial era and it is my Department’s priority to see new buildings funded and constructed to provide safe and secure containment of dangerous offenders,” said Johnny Marango, Director of the Department of Correctional Services.

“We are thus very grateful to the New Zealand Government who have agreed to fund construction of a new Female Correctional Centre in Port Vila.

“Female detainees are currently housed in an old police barracks at Collardeau and we have had ongoing issues with maintenance and break-ins,” continued Mr Marango. “The new facility is co-located with the Stade Low Security Correctional Centre which will provide staffing efficiencies for the Department and which will also provide better security for female detainees.

“I also wish to thank the Australian Government through the Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice Program, who are funding external works for this project. This includes playground equipment ideal for mothers who are incarcerated with babies, and also so that families who visit female detainees have a positive experience of their visit. Family contact is vital to successful rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.”

Vanuatu currently has 228 male detainees, 89 of whom are held in the new Mauria Correctional Centre in Luganville (funded by the New Zealand Government and opened in 2017) and 12 female detainees. Offences committed by convicted female detainees include kidnapping, assault, sexual offences and misappropriation.

“I am also pleased that the construction contractor, Loli Business Enterprise, has agreed to employ some of our Low Security male detainees in the construction process. This provides valuable, real-life work experience for these detainees and will help them to find employment once their imprisonment sentence is complete,” concluded Mr Marango.