The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar today visited the inmates at the Women’s Corrections Centre in Korovou, Suva.
The visit was an opportunity for the Minister to discuss achievements and plans of the Women’s Corrections Centre with the Commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service, Lieutenant Colonel Ifereimi Vasu
Discussions during the visit also enabled the Minister for Women and her team to look at new areas of collaboration with Fiji Corrections Services.
While taking a tour around the facilities, Minister Akbar also met with some of the female inmates. Minister Akbar reiterated that through its partnership with Fiji Corrections Services, the Ministry aims to positively change the lives of women inmates.
“This visit here has been very informative, we had the opportunity to visit the rehabilitation projects that are conducted for female inmates. I would like to acknowledge the work carried out by the Fiji Corrections Services, particularly in terms of implementing the rehabilitation programs.
“The Ministry is also working towards changing mind-sets and one of its key deliverables is the empowerment of women. We assist women by equipping them with skills and tools to become self-reliant. We believe that women contribute to society as much as men do and by working together we can create a much bigger impact in the lives of these women.
“By working together we can positively change the lives of the inmates and their families. Through the presentation this morning, we saw that 47 percent of inmates belong to the youth category while 3 percent are females. The Fiji Corrections Services has an important role in ensuring that these inmates are assisted through various rehabilitation and livelihood programs. The Ministry aims to provide support in this area,” Minister Akbar said.
Director Rehabilitation Superintendent Ms Salote Panapasa highlighted some of the programs that are currently carried out at the Women’s Corrections Centre.
“Currently, there are 54 female inmates and one new remand centre is currently planned for west. Three major roles of the correctional services include ensuring the safety and security of inmates and also the safety of the general public.
“The needs of the inmates such as (health, food and shelter) have to be provided and the key role is changing the mindset of the inmates through the Rehabilitation framework,” Ms Panapasa said.
She also highlighted the three phases of the Rehabilitation program which includes:
- Disciplinary development (takes 2 to 3 months)
- Personality enhancement (6 to 12 months)
- Vocational Training skills (in areas of Trade and academic)
- Community Development Programmes
Minister Akbar also visited the vocational training facilities through which the female inmates secure self-employment opportunities. These include: baking and pastry, tailoring and weaving, hairdressing, catering and computing classes. After acquiring these skills, some of the inmates have found employment and are reunited with their families.
“Through Poverty Alleviation Programs, the inmates are also assisted through income generating programs. We also do home visits to get the right information, find the root causes of crime and resolves the differences,” Ms Panapasa said.