24 prison heads meet

PRISON administrators from 24 countries in the Asia-Pacific region are discussing ways to address the increasing incarceration rate, and how leaders of the prison systems can contribute towards solving the broader social problems that affect the wider community.

The four-day meeting of the 37th Asian Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators which began in Nadi yesterday also heard that the surge in prison population was a global problem. And so were the issues of repeat offenders, and the prevalence of drug related offences.

Commissioner Fiji Corrections Service Francis Kean said Fiji looked forward to the contributions and knowledge sharing from APCCA member countries.

“We as corrections officers must carry the mantle of leading rehabilitation and ensuring that we win the hearts and minds battle of those under our care,” he said.

Mr Kean said while prisoner rehabilitation was everyone’s responsibility, those leading the correction services had a duty to drive and lead efforts to change prisoner behaviour.

Yesterday’s program involved presentations from each of the 24-member countries on the challenges faced and the initiatives taken to rehabilitate prisoners.

Many spoke of successful Yellow Ribbon initiatives, which were defined as a smart partnership with the community.

Here, inmates were equipped with useful skills and financial assistance aimed at facilitating a smooth transition to the community and possible employment upon release.

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