Fiji’s effort in rehabilitating and reforming prisoners has been a success story that many Pacific Island countries want to tap into.
Fiji Corrections Service commissioner, Lieutenant Colonel Ifereimi Vasu said many countries in the region had shown interest in learning from Fiji’s best practices.
He said Fiji has managed to reduce the rate of recidivism that has been the result of rehabilitation and enterprise through income generating programmes.
Lt Col Vasu said regional meetings such as the 5th Pacific Islands Regional Conference for Women in Corrections (PIRCWC) that was being held in Fiji allowed countries to learn from each other.
“One of the big contributing factors for these regional meetings is for countries to see how Fiji is going into rehabilitation and enterprise. Countries like Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have shown interest in the programmes we run,” he said in the sidelines of the weeklong PIRCWC meeting being held in Suva.
Minister for Justice, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum opened the regional meeting that was attended by countries such as PNG, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Vanuatu and Tonga.
The meeting will look at ways to address the challenges women correction officers face and how best to manage female offenders.
Lt Col Vasu said there were many best practices that the correction service institutions can learn from Fiji as many have just recently broken away from being part of the police department.
PIRCWC chairperson and Solomon Islands Correction Service inspector Leah Alufo’oa said the meeting brings female officers under one roof to look at challenges of working in a male dominated institution where they face issues like unfair promotions and lack of opportunities.
She praised Fiji’s efforts in rehabilitating and reforming prisoners while highlighting that Solomon Islands was now putting many of these practices in place within their own correctional facilitates.
“We visited the correctional facilities in Fiji in 2013 and have been keen on driving similar small business ventures so we are working on that,” Inspector Alufo’oa said.
Fiji has been running income generating programme for prisoners that includes agriculture, poultry and other skills.
The participants from the meeting will be touring correction facilities from Thursday