NATION

Kama: Accept Ex-offenders

The People of Valelevu in Nasinu were yesterday urged to accept, forgive and give ex-inmates from their area a second chance when they are released from prison. Nasinu Town’s special
08 Nov 2014 16:31
Kama: Accept  Ex-offenders

The People of Valelevu in Nasinu were yesterday urged to accept, forgive and give ex-inmates from their area a second chance when they are released from prison.

Nasinu Town’s special administrator Mosese Kama made the plea yesterday while launching the Yellow Ribbon Project at Valelevu, Nasinu yesterday.

The project is a rehabilitation programme which started in 2008 to give inmates a second chance when they are released from prison.

“The inmates are only within the corrections facilities for the duration of their sentence. A much longer period of their lives is spent outside with the community – among us,” Mr Kama said.

He said society continues to reject ex-inmates because of their past – an attitude which often drives ex-offenders to return to criminal activities.

“I plead to all members of our community. Let us move together as a nation, caring and supporting each other, particularly those less privileged than us.

“The stigma associated with their incarceration, through our own perception against them, has often allowed them to develop into much worse persons than they were meant to be.

“We have often unwittingly created the environment within our communities to be another prison by not giving them the freedom to fully express their talents and capabilities.”

Mr Kama said the Fiji Corrections Service could have the most effective rehabilitation programme and the most appropriate upskilling training for inmates, but it was always the members of the public who were responsible for driving ex-offenders into crimes that the Fiji Corrections Service had tried to free them from.

“To the churches, faith-based organisations and youth groups, let us embrace the Yellow Ribbon Project concept and make every effort to review our perception against inmates,” Mr Kama said.

Commissioner of Corrections Lieutenant-Colonel Ifereimi Vasu said it was the appreciation and an understanding of one’s role on how to treat ex- offenders while they were still in their care and on their release that would result in their (ex-offenders) successful reintegration into society.

There are currently 1520 inmates in the 13 corrections centres around the country.

Feedback: aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj

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