INMATES at the Lautoka Corrections Centre earned $30,000 from the sugar cane-cutting program that ended with the closure of the Lautoka sugar mill, according to West Corrections Service supervisor ASP Oliver Fisher.
He said about 60 inmates would share the money that would be given to them upon the completion of their sentence.
ASP Fisher said the inmates harvested 2000 tonnes of sugar cane during the season.
"The cane-cutting program not only assisted the inmates in terms of their earnings but also contributed to the consistent supply of cane from the farms to the mills, helping the overall production at Lautoka," he said.
"Sixty inmates participated in the program and were paid $15 per tonne.
"The total income will be shared by all those who took part, depending on the tonnes they each harvested.
"The money will be given to the inmates once they are freed from prison.
"The involvement of these inmates shows we support the government and the Fiji Sugar Corporation in improving sugar production.
"We have assisted the cane farmers with the consistent supply of cane from their farms to the mill."
ASP Fisher said the program was part of the reintegration process that would encourage inmates to learn new ways of generating income.
"Most of these inmates are new to cane harvesting and one objective of the program is to open new career opportunities to prepare them for life after serving their sentence. It is also encouraging to note that some inmates have shown keen interest in investing in the sugar industry.
"Some of these inmates have land and this initiative will encourage them to utilise their land for cane farming," he said.