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$5 million facility for women inmates

Kalesi Mele
Saturday, December 02, 2017

WOMEN inmates, who are from the Western Division, will be transferred to the newly-opened Lautoka Women's Corrections Centre as early as Monday.

The new facility cost the Government about $5 million and caters for 24 convicted and remand women respectively.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who officiated at the opening ceremony yesterday, said the new facility ensured women had better access to their loved ones despite being incarcerated.

"This is the first time we have a women's corrections facility based outside of Suva," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"This is reflective of our priorities and commitment and protection of human rights, even to those who are incarcerated.

"Since colonial times, the only female prison we had was in Suva which meant that any female convicted would always be relocated to Suva.

"This minimised their ability to constantly be in touch with their relatives and family members which means they have less support."

He added there were times when nursing mothers were forced to wean their children off breastfeeding after being convicted of a crime because they had to relocate to Suva.

"By doing so, we were denying those women their rights and the close to $5m spent to build this facility and the K9 unit is a small price to pay to ensure that we fulfil the rights of these people."

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