Sunvoice

Editorial: Tough Challenge For Corrections Staff, But They Need Our Support

The Deputy Commissioner of Corrections, Apimeleki Taukei, has raised a very important point about the challenges that face all of us on the issue of sexual offences and how to
20 Jun 2018 14:01
Editorial: Tough Challenge For Corrections Staff, But They Need Our Support

The Deputy Commissioner of Corrections, Apimeleki Taukei, has raised a very important point about the challenges that face all of us on the issue of sexual offences and how to deal with offenders.

Mr  Taukei is speaking specifically about offenders when they get to prison.

He has given wardens a challenge to do their best in rehabilitating inmates, who, after serving their term no longer re-offend.

But, the wardens cannot do it alone. They need the support of the communities, elders, faith and social groups.

A multi-sectoral approach is essential if the Fiji Corrections Service is to succeed in the inmates’ rehabilitation programmes.

On a more personal level Corrections officers must have a high level of patience, love and understanding.

This is not just a job,  for which they are paid  for at the end of the week or fortnight.

If that was the case then progress would be difficult and the whole process would just become another academic exercise.

The reality is that this is a tough call for the officers because at times they may be required to act over and above or beyond their call of duty.

It is therefore important that we recognise the difficult work of the officers.

At the same time, all the stakeholders must contribute from their own special areas.

A powerful force in this action is  the religious groups.

We know that some church groups do regular prison visits as part of their ministry.

These visits can be co-ordinated to fit into the overall Corrections rehabilitation programme and strengthen it. While this programme is lauded, we must at the same time, look at the preventative approach.

We should ask the question: Why is there an increase in sexual offences?

What can we do to reduce it and eventually eliminate it?

If we can effectively deal with the problem at the front end it will reduce the pressure on Corrections.

We should talk openly about sex and morality issues and teach our people the correct principles.

We should not hide behind the mask of cultural sensitivities and taboo to avoid talking about the issue and then expect our children to turn out good.

Obviously, they will learn and experiment in a world out there filled with all kinds of evil that can potentially lead them astray.

But, if they are taught and trained well at home it reduces the risks of them making mistakes.

For those who fall through the cracks, break the law and end up behind bars, they will be dealt with by the Corrections programmes – and hopefully when they are released, they can be accepted back into their communities to start a new life.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com



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