The recent commentary relating to the participation of prisoners in sports especially against, Amenoni Nasilasila is disheartening and counterproductive to all the good work in our rehabilitation efforts at the Fiji Correction Service says the Director of Rehabilitation, Senior Superintendent Salote Panapasa.

SSPT Panapasa added that, Nasilasila has already had his day in court and is now under the care of FCS.

“It is sad that some in public, now wish nail him to a cross, why?

“The Fiji Corrections Service knows what’s best for Nasilasila, as we have professional Psychologists and Counsellors that have assessed him and similarly ensured that that he completed the necessary rehabilitation treatment programs to be eligible for such activities.

Nasilasila since his incarceration has undertaken such rehabilitation programs which includes the Alpha Program, True Identity and Cognitive Self Change, Solomon’s Proverbs, Abuse Program which covers trauma healing and victim empathy, Sycamore Tree which looks at the ownership of the crime, healing and restoration, character guidance sessions, foot drill for discipline and one to one counselling sessions.

SSUPT Panapasa further adds that Nasilasila is not the first prisoner to be allowed to participate in public sports nor he will he be the last.

“Many prisoners before him have participated in public sports including boxing. A good number of our former boxing greats started their boxing careers in prison. Two former prisoners were recently discharged in 2019, also played club and provincial rugby for Namosi. Both have now reintegrated successfully back into society.”

She adds that the FCS is in a far better position to decide what’s best for Nasilasila to ensure his successful reintegration into society.

“We do not condone the actions of Nasilasila however it is our duty at FCS to positively address his offending behaviour. Nasilasila has displayed the necessary progress expected of him since his incarceration.”

“Identifying talent is an aspect of our rehabilitation efforts. Nasilasila’s strength is in rugby therefore we will use this skill as a tool to enhance his rehabilitation process to ensure his eventual successful reintegration into society once he is eligible for release.”

“Right now we have 126 prisoners engaged in our annual Musu Dovu Operations, 12 on Early Schemes, 36 involved in our Voices of Hope Choir and Brass Band, 56 involved in our six small business units plus a good number involved in cemetery duties and general maintenance.

“We believe that our rehabilitation programs at Corrections has not been in vain as our recidivism rate speaks for itself. As we speak, it is the lowest (1.5%) in the last 12 years since we started measuring our recidivism rate. For this we acknowledge the support and cooperation from the general public, religious organisations, the corporate sector, NGOs, Government, family and friends.”

 “We implore the public to understand that one day all those in our Correction Centres will eventually return to society. They all deserve a second chance. Society has the responsibility in opening the doors of the second prison, without this they will reoffend and end up under our care again.”

FCS

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