New block to ease congestion at Lautoka Remand Centre

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OVERCROWDING will soon be a thing of the past for the Lautoka Remand Centre as the Fiji Corrections Service works to address the issue.

Setting the wheels in motion toward this objective, the FCS held a groundbreaking ceremony today to mark the commencement of work on a new remand block at the Lautoka Corrections Centre.

The tender for the project was awarded to Pernix (Fiji) Ltd following an open tender process last year.

Officiating at the ceremony, FCS Acting Commissioner Kameli Ratuvakalevulevu said the need to expand the remand centre in Lautoka was a priority.

“The need to construct these remand centres was initiated after the department experienced a sudden increase in the number of remand inmates population in the past few years.

“Lautoka Corrections Centyre, being the second largest receiving centre, caters for those inmates remanded by the court in the Western Division. The centre has the widest area of operation in terms of the number of courts and its scattered locations which stretch from Sigatoka to Rakiraki, including Keyasi and Nadarivatu.”

Mr Ratuvakalevulevu said as a result of the continuous increase of the remand population, 3-4 inmates were accommodated in a cell designed for 1, contributing to its inhumane and unhealthy conditions.

“The overcrowding situations were a clear breach of human rights, creating OHS issues with the risk of disease outbreaks, not to mention the security risk on corrections officers. In order to align ourselves with the UN Minimum Standard on treatment of offenders adopted in the Geneva Convention, the FCS needed to construct new and modern facilities that are not only in line with the treaty but to also be conducive to rehabilitation programmes,” he said.

When completed, the Lautoka Remand Centre will have capacity for 200 inmates.

The construction of the new building will cost $1.336m and is expected to take about 28 weeks to complete.

Features of the new block include a CCTV viewing room and a walkway balcony around the building for officers on duty.

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