Second chance

Ex prisoner Semi Matalau (right) meets Correction's officer Tui Saladoka during Yellow Ribbon ex prisoner's recruitement at ANZ Stadium yesterday. Picture: RAMA

PEOPLE behind bars are capable of becoming good employees when they are released if given a second chance.

These were the sentiments echoed by former inmate and former divisional planning officer Northern Semi Matalau in an interview during the Yellow Ribbon Employment Expo held at the ANZ Stadium Corporate Box last Friday.

“The Yellow Ribbon Project is a must and it should be sustained because it promotes the lives of so many people who are forgotten in our society. They should be given chances as it is given to everyone,” Mr Matalau said.

“The Employment Expo is timely because there are a lot of people with proper skills, knowledge and talent who are being incarcerated in our institutions — the correction service.”

Mr Matalau said for instances there were qualified electricians, mechanical engineers and other tradesman in the correction centres and they were about to be released.

“There is a great need for their services out there not only in the urban centres but in the rural areas as well for tradesmen like them.

“I am sure prisoners who will come out will be ready with a mindset for the workplace. These people they have gone through the mill. They have been trained. They have been prepared for the outside world,” Mr Matalau said.

He added from his perspective people who come from the inside, they can excel outside.

“They can even do much better than people who are outside. I have been telling the commissioner that people who have been through the mill, they went through a different experience — their will to survive will drive them.

That is the edge that differentiates a person who was incarcerated and a person who is outside.”

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