Deputy Commissioner of Corrections, Superintendent Akuila Namakadre returned from the Fifth United Nations International Corrections in Peacekeeping Conference that was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in West Africa last week.
With the theme – “Promoting Partnerships and Best Practices in Support of Prison Reform Programmes”, the three days seminar was attended by 24 countries mostly in Africa, Sweden, United States of America, Canada, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Philippines and Fiji being in attendance for the first time.
“This is because of Fiji’s recent commitment and contribution towards Peacekeeping and Peace building operation to post-war conflict countries with the United Nations at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) from 2011 until to date and have so far contributed a total of five Correction Officers from Fiji as Corrections Advisors in UNMISS,” explained Mr Namakadre.
In his presentation to the forum, Mr Namakadre briefed on the mandate that has been given by the Government of Fiji through the Roadmap from 2009 to 2014 for the Fiji Corrections Service to “Reduce Recidivism by 50%”.
He added that this mandate has been cascaded down in the Annual Corporate Plan from the Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) Headquarters down to the operations level and like other Government departments, the FCS performance on this mandate by Government is measured on quarterly basis by the Strategic for Change Coordination Office (SFCCO).
“First and foremost strategies are being put in place between the Government and FCS to address overcrowding in prisons whereby majority of the inmates in the prison population in Fiji today are those who have been re-offending and being re-admitted into FCS for other new crimes committed after being discharged,” added Mr Namakadre.
Rehabilitation Programs and Yellow Ribbon Project are the two strategies which Fiji is now undertaking vigorously in order to not only reduce prison overcrowding but inmates to also contribute to the economy of the country through meaningful employment upon discharge from prison.
Currently there are altogether 10 UN Mission areas where corrections officers from other countries are being deployed as corrections advisors to which Fiji is only part of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan.
The Fiji Corrections Service will also be considering being part of other UN Missions in the future.