Rehab for inmates

FIVE inmates have been identified by the Fiji Corrections Service to be part of their newly launched Operation Solesolevaki program, a project initiated under the Yellow Ribbon campaign.

Operation Solesolevaki is divided into five phases.

Phases one and two identify inmates serving sentences less than two years, and have something positive to be involved in when they return to their communities.

These phases also include awareness programs for members of the community on acceptance and welcoming former offenders back into the community.

Phase three involves inmates and FCS officers, and members of the community working together to prepare farms for when they are released.

FCS officers will also monitor the inmates. If supervisors are satisfied with inmates’ performances, they will progress to phase four where the inmate is allowed weekend release, and his activities monitored by a church minister and village headman.

The inmate returns to the centre on Sundays along with a signed weekly report from the community supervisor. Phase five of the program is the actual release of the reformed inmate to his community.

Deputy Commissioner Corrections Superintendent Jo Kulinidilo said two inmates were already into phase three of the project while another three inmates were being assessed.

He said FCS transported inmates to and from their homes to the centre, adding that work was continuing at Naganivatu in Naitasiri and Vatudavila settlement in Waibau.

“Assessment is being carried out in Nayavu Village and Wailailai Village in the district of Wainibuka and also at Vatudavila Settlement,” he said.

FCS chaplain Josefa Tikonatabua says senior officers from around the division are encouraged to submit names for assessement to be part of the program.

Nagavatu villager, Kalesi Marama, 62, whose son is one of two inmates in phase three, was thankful to FCS for coming up with the initative.

“I am sure my son will return home a better person because even though he went to prison for the wrong decisions he made, he has been moulded into a better person through the rehabilitation programs at the centre,” she said.

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