Jobs Reduce Crime Possibility: Chief Justice
A person is less likely to get involved in criminal activities if they have a job or a purpose in life, says Chief Justice Anthony Gates.
He made this statement yesterday while making submissions on the Community–Based Corrections Bill 2016 before the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Justice, Law and Human Rights at Parliament.
Chief Justice Gates said the Bill would give some sort of hope for the offenders to engage in some work or help them retain a job.
He said the offender would have an opportunity to reflect, express regret, apologise and reconcile with those who suffered from the crime committed.
He said Fiji had a long history of reconciliation and it should be encouraged for minor matters.
Even though he supported the Bill, Chief Justice Gates said it should be understood that very serious crimes could not be suitable for the programme.
He said it was important that we must be proactive within the walls as well as outside the walls.
Chief Justice Gates said in the Bill the offender had the chance to overcome addictions, behavioral problems, anger management; these were matters that led the offender to difficulties while under supervision.
He suggested there were reasons the Community Work Act was not used to its fullest extent and there were challenges that was difficult to overcome.
He said it should be ensured that the community felt that there was something of a worthwhile nature by the way of payback for the crime done.
Chief Justice Gates said according to correction officials that a large percentage of the prison population were young people not necessarily with heavy criminal backgrounds but they found themselves sometimes going in at the deep end in robberies.
He said once they went down that path it was hard for them to get out of it.
He said during the earlier days of the Legal Aid Commission there seemed to be one old man, a dog and a cart.
“Look at it now, we are proud of the legal aid commission, it has been properly staffed, it has been given offices, it’s got a considerable amount of work to do to the community, perhaps a little bit more than it should be doing but no one could say that there is an intention by Government and Parliament to provide that services to the community,” Chief Justice Gates said.
Edited by Rusiate Mataika