Recidivism rate increases this year

Fiji Corrections Service Acting Commissioner, Senior Superintendent Salote Panapasa flanked by Matelita Qera (left) and Acelini Bakabaka of Votua Village at the Ba Province Yellow Ribbon Symposium organized by Fiji Corrections Service at Girmit Centre in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Fiji’s recidivism rate increased slightly this year and the Fiji Corrections Service attributed the surge in re-offending to the non-facilitation of its rehabilitation programs during the pandemic.

Acting Commissioner of Corrections Senior Superintendent Salote Panapasa said the recidivism rate (the chance of a convicted criminal to reoffend) increased to 1.7 per cent from the 1.3 per cent established in July last year.

“We attributed the slight increase to COVID-19 when there was no rehabilitation program conducted and some were released without going through rehab,” Ms Panapasa said.

“We could not carry out our rehab programs because of health restrictions and visitations weren’t allowed in prison.

“These are reoffenders within these two years and these are mostly the ones that commit offences like thefts and burglaries.”

The acting commissioner said the FCS adapted its recidivism calculation in the past few years and decided to do away with the five years’ timeline because it did not work and was out-of-date.

She indicated that most re-offenders who returned to prison within the two-year timeline were teenagers who mostly involved themselves in home invasions and robberies.

Ms Panapasa added they continued rehabilitation programs once restrictions were lifted.

More Stories