Monday, December 14, 2009

Tailevu Province to fund Prisoner Rehabilitation

Chiefs from Tailevu Province have promised to put money into helping their imprisoned sons and daughters start a new life in their villages upon their release.

The ‘vanua’ of Tailevu led by its Provincial Council Chairman Josefa Serulagilagi visited the inmates of the Nasinu Reformative Centre, the Naboro Correctional Centre and the Suva Prison at the Naboro Correctional Academy Mess on Friday.

It was the first ever such visit by the Province of Tailevu.

Chairman Serulagilagi likened the visit to the biblical story of the Good Shepherd going back to look for a single lost sheep.

Serulagilagi told the inmates that from next year onwards the council will be setting aside funds for their rehabilitation.

“The council has decided that next year we will set aside funds to rehabilitate and set you up in the village,” Serulagilagi is quoted by State media.

“Come back to the village. Once you are there, everything will work out, and the vanua will help you.”

Serulagilagi said the committee tasked to work on the rehabilitation of ex-offenders will work closely with the prison authority.

Serulagilagi said that the vanua is ready to give its sons and daughters a second chance, but he cautioned them that there will be no third chance.

Meanwhile, Taito Raiwaqa, who calls himself a “veteran prisoner”, told the delegates from Tailevu that he wants to start a new life upon his release in 2015.

“This the first time for my high chiefs to come and visit us inmates,” he said.

“This visit is truly inspirational, it motivates people like me to rethink about the kind of life we are leading.

“I want to get married, own my own home and have a car.”