The new Lautoka Women’s Corrections Center will help improve support for inmates whose families could not visit them in the past due to them being far away in Suva.
This was the point made by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications, the Honorable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum when he commissioned the new women’s facility, a new K9 Unit and staff quarters at the Lautoka Corrections Center on 1 December, 2017.
The whole project cost $5M which covers for the;
“This is the first time we’ve had a correctional facility built for women based outside of Suva. This essentially signifies a number of key issues in terms of government priorities and our overall commitment to human rights, to the protection of the very practical and tangible rights of people who are incarcerated through the criminal justice system,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“Since the Colonial times we’ve only had one women’s prison which is in Suva which has meant that any female that is being convicted of any crimes has always had to be relocated from all other parts of Fiji to Suva.
“What does this mean? It means it minimises the ability of their family members, their children and other relatives to be constantly in touch with family members who are incarcerated which again means that they have less support.”
“So building them this facility, which amounts to around $5m, this woman’s facility, K9 Unit and staff quarters is a pretty small price to pay for the Government to ensure that we fulfil the rights of these people.”
He added that the in reality, any society cannot be seen to be inclusive if they do not cater for those who are on the periphery of society.
“So even though a person might be convicted, it doesn’t mean we deny them their fundamental rights.
Unfortunately, in Fiji people talk about Human rights, as we can see on social media every day with absolutely no idea what human rights means?
“When you treat a human being with a sense of dignity they will respond to you much better.
If you don’t treat them with dignity, they will not respond to you, they will actually not listen to you.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was later taken on a tour of the new facility which included a new K9 unit, new staff quarters and some office buildings.
Commissioner of Corrections Commander Francis Kean said it was special day for the Service and was a huge step forward to have a new women’s center and also other facilities which would help in the overall work of rehabilitation.