Inmates reconnect with families online

The newly implemented video conferencing facility at Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) centres around the country has enabled inmates to reconnect with loved ones.

It has enabled people like Kelera (not her real name) to converse with her 22-year-old son for the first time in 17 years.

The young man lives and studies at the University of Hawaii.

Separated from her son since he was five years old, Kelera has not seen his face in years. She is serving a life sentence.

“I am able to see how he is and has been, what he wears and I can see how he is feeling through his face and gestures through the monitor,” she said.

Meanwhile, a statement from the United Nations Development Program said the project supported the FCS in setting up the remote conferencing facilities, through the provision of laptop computers and data packages, to equip corrections facilities around the country.

The statement read support was provided as an immediate response to the challenge posed by State restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Prisons around the globe have been particularly challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the high risk that the infection can spread quickly through the densely populated prisons,” the statement read.

“To try and stop the virus from entering the prisons in the first place, many countries imposed restrictions.

“In Fiji, the Government has been vigilant in its management of the pandemic within the country to prevent further spread and control the pandemic as much as possible.”

The video conferencing facilities were provided through the Fiji Access to Justice Project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the Judicial Department of Fiji.

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