NEWS

Number Of Inmates In Prison Alarms SDA Church Pastor

FCS director rehabilitation, Senior Superintendent Salote Panapasa said members of the SDA church in correctional facilities increased drastically over the past three years.
26 Feb 2020 12:25
Number Of Inmates In Prison Alarms SDA Church Pastor
Participants of the joint symposium between the Fiji Corrections service office and the Seventh-day Church in Fiji during a group discussion on February 25, 2020. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in Fiji is concerned about the upward trend of its members in Fiji Corrections Service facilities around the country.

According to statistics presented at a joint symposium by the church and the Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) yesterday, 314 inmates are from the SDA church.

The number had increased from 215 in August 1, 2018.

The statistics revealed that they were second to the Methodist Church that topped the list with 765 offenders in correctional facilities.

FCS director rehabilitation, Senior Superintendent Salote Panapasa said members of the SDA church in correctional facilities increased drastically over the past three years.

SDA Church in Fiji Prison Ministry co-ordinator, Pastor Sefanaia Turuva said: “It’s very alarming; the reason is that these inmates belong to a family, they belong to a community, they belong to a church, so the things that happened are indicating that there is something wrong somewhere.

“Four years ago we were on number four but today we are number two,” he said

“This symposium is one way we could sit and discuss strategies on how to reduce the numbers of inmates from the church and also providing aftercare to inmates when they are released from correctional facilities.

“We are grateful that the Fiji Corrections Service has admitted that they cannot do everything on their own and they need our help.”

Rehabilitation

Senior Superintendent Panapasa said engaging the community for the aftercare of inmates had always been a challenge for them.

“That is why we have to engage churches because they cover all areas of responsibility,” she said.

“We could engage provinces, but there are limitations, an example is an inmate from Lau will find it difficult for his family to come right to Suva, the first contact would be members of the denomination that he is from.

“They could be his first contact of care when he is released despite what province he/she is from.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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