THERE is nothing good or heroic about going to prison and a stint behind bars is nothing to be proud of.
This was the message from the Lautoka Corrections Centre officer-in-charge, Savenaca Baleiwai, to thousands of youths who attended the Arise Fiji Festival on Friday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.
"To date, of the total number of inmates that are incarcerated at Natabua, 80 per cent are youths. These youths' ages range from 16 to 35 years old.
"And the question to ask is are we advocating the right message to the people because the correction centres portrays a different picture of the youths of today," he said. Mr Baleiwai added that people that were incarcerated lost a lot, not only in terms of valuable time that could have been better spent making positive contributions to society, but also by the experience of being behind bars for extended periods of time.
"Their lives are stigmatised, families suffer, education is ruined and societies reject them when they are released back into civil society," he said.
"Make the right choice in life so that you can be a successful citizen of this beloved country. You must have a dream in life, do not let or allow anyone or anything else to deter you from achieving this dream," he said.