The Attorney General of Fiji Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum commissioned two new projects worth more than $400,000 at the Fiji Corrections Services (FCS) in Natabua, Lautoka on Wednesday, 30 September, 2020.
The total cost of the project is $416,500.
Commissioning the newly renovated mess hall for remand prisoners and a new facility for the young and elderly remand prisoners, the A-G highlighted the Government’s aim in improving correction facilities around the country.
“The Corrections Facilities have changed drastically over the years and I must highlight that in the past remand prisoners and convicted ones were put together in the same block.
“This did create a lot of problems because it led to the contamination of new inmates by the seasoned criminals, it impacted a lot on the recidivism rate which many years ago was at 50 percent,’’ he said.
“So I must comment the current leadership of the Commissioner Commander Kean and his team for the great work which now sees our recidivism rate which is very low.”
“Not under the Bainimarama government and of course under the Fiji First government we made a policy decision that we not only improve the conditions of those who work within corrections services in terms of salaries, job evaluation exercise but also the facilities in which they live in their staff quarters.
“And also to be able to ensure that the environment for those who have been brought to the criminal justice system and have to serve a particular term are in the right environment.
The A-G stated that the commissioning of the new premises is a small facet in a wider philosophical approach to the correction services in Fiji.
He acknowledged FCS for its tremendous work along with its stakeholders and also highlighted that there needs to be transparency in their work.
“We needed a transparent approach to be taken when dealing with corrections services and it is important to engage with all partners as it will assist in tackling challenges faced within the system.
“It’s critically important for us to take that approach because if we take that approach then we will be able to correct those gaps.”
He also highlighted on the current COVID-19 restrictions and urged Fijians to be prudent and creative on how to deal with the current situation at hand.
Commander Kean, such facilities also allowed them to address overcrowding issues, contamination issues and at the same time for them to be COVID-19 compliant.
“As you all know we are under the new normal now, where funds are also scarce so we thank the Government for the successful completion of this project which is all aimed at helping us look after those under our care better and to also assist in rehabilitation programs,’’ Commander Kean said.