PARTICIPANTS at the first 2012 Roko Tui quarterly meeting in Nadave were reminded that inmates need to know they are still cared for and loved, by their immediate families, the vanua and the denomination they belong to.
Fiji Corrections Service community liaison officer Superintendent (SP), Sakiusa Veiwili urged the leaders at the meeting to visit inmates who are members of their respective provinces.
"Inmates need to know that someone out there still cares and to have their traditional leaders visit them during their incarceration, boosts their moral.
"When they are frequently visited, they are given a sense of belonging and it ultimately ensures their successful reintegration into the community upon release," he said.
He told the leaders in attendance, to date, a total of 172 inmates hailed from the province of Tailevu, 133 from Lau, 105 from Ba, and 91 from Lomaiviti.
He said in terms of the age breakdown, youths made up 71 per cent of the total inmate population at correction centres which was equivalent to 1113 inmates of a total 1336 currently incarcerated.
SP Veiwili said the change of focus for the organisation from one of containment to correction had seen the commencement of rehabilitation programs for inmates.
"But we can only do so much, 80 per cent of the work to ensure that those committed to our custody become better citizens is carried out by the Fiji Corrections Service.
"The other 20 per cent, we rely on the church leaders, the vanua and their families to carry out," he said.
He said, upon release, inmates dealt with stigma associated with imprisonment so there was even a greater need to give them a second chance.