NATION

Big Turnout To Support Yellow Ribbon Project

Fiji Corrections Service Commissioner Commander Francis Kean was delighted with the turn out for the Yellow Ribbon annual walk yesterday morning. Commander Kean said the major intention of the walk
05 Nov 2016 12:00
Big Turnout To Support Yellow Ribbon Project
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Fiji Corrections Service Commissioner Commander Francis Kean was delighted with the turn out for the Yellow Ribbon annual walk yesterday morning.

Commander Kean said the major intention of the walk was to ensure that ex-offenders become better citizens after their release from incarceration.

“I was surprised with the large number of people supporting this annual walk.

“We just pray that the gospel of this Yellow Ribbon work will continue to spread to our community and around the country. This is to bring awareness about giving second chances to some of our sons and daughters who are currently incarcerated,” he said.

Eight of the inmates were also part of the Yellow Ribbon walk along with 400 supporters.

“This walk is for them. This is the first year that prisoners are part of this walk and we are using them as ambassadors. When they return to prison, they will go and share to their brothers and sisters in custody with them about what they have seen. It’s about changing their mindsets,” he said.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said: “The walk is being carried out to create awareness about the Yellow Ribbon Project. The yellow ribbon initiative is essentially about getting people who have been to prison or are in prison to be given a second chance.

“Fiji traditionally has had a very high rate of recidivism, at one stage it was over 50 per cent.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a lot of the times re-offending takes place, because of the fact that when prisoners are released, they are not necessarily given the right support by the families, communities, potential employers and by the country as a whole.

“So the whole idea of the Yellow Ribbon Project is for people who have served their term or are serving their term and come back they have paid their dues. Let’s accept them back to the society, and let’s give them the opportunity on whether in developing their trade skills set whilst in prison or teaching them farm techniques, etc,” he said.

“Inmates are also been allowed to work outside for a few hours and if they do well and once they served their terms, they will be employed.

“They have their skills set when they come out and they are ready and able to work in the force. This is essentially the basis of the Yellow Ribbon Project,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that prisons are providing mentoring for the younger offenders and this would help them with knowledge and trade skills set.

“This Government started the Yellow Ribbon initiative and now under the FijiFirst initiative, this fundamentally stands from the fact that we believe that we need to be a caring nation, we need to nurture our people, because lots of these people who may have been to prison may have enormous skills, enormous intellect, enormous potential to contribute in a very meaningful productive manner to the society. And if we give them the opportunity to do so, not only do they benefit gradually but also we benefit as a country,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

 


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