The Fiji Corrections Service says the institution knows what's best for inmate, Amenoni Nasilasila, as they have professional Psychologists and Counsellors that have assessed him and similarly ensured that he completed the necessary rehabilitation treatment programs to be eligible for activities such as rugby.
Director of Rehabilitation, Senior Superintendent Salote Panapasa says the recent commentary relating to the participation of prisoners in sports especially against Nasilasila is disheartening and counterproductive to all the good work in their rehabilitation efforts.
Panapasa says Nasilasila has already had his day in court and is now under the care of Fiji Corrections Service.
She raised the question on why some in public wish to nail him to a cross.
Panapasa says since his incarceration Nasilasila has undertaken rehabilitation programs which includes the Alpha Program, True Identity and Cognitive Self Change, Solomon's Proverbs, Abuse Program which covers trauma healing and victim empathy, Sycamore Tree which looks at the ownership of the crime, healing and restoration, character guidance sessions, foot drill for discipline and one to one counselling sessions.
Panapasa further adds that Nasilasila is not the first prisoner to be allowed to participate in public sports nor will he be the last.
She says many prisoners before him have participated in public sports including boxing.
Panapasa says a good number of our former boxing greats started their boxing careers in prison. She says two former prisoners were recently discharged in 2019, also played club and provincial rugby for Namosi.
Panapasa says both have now reintegrated successfully back into society.
She adds that the FCS is in a far better position to decide what's best for Nasilasila to ensure his successful reintegration into society.
Panapasa also stresses that they do not condone the actions of Nasilasila however it is their duty at Fiji Corrections to positively address his offending behaviour.
She says Nasilasila has displayed the necessary progress expected of him since his incarceration.
Panapasa says identifying talent is an aspect of their rehabilitation efforts. She says Nasilasila's strength is in rugby therefore they will use this skill as a tool to enhance his rehabilitation process to ensure his eventual successful reintegration into society once he is eligible for release.
She also says right now they have 126 prisoners engaged in their annual Musu Dovu Operations, 12 on Early Schemes, 36 involved in the Voices of Hope Choir and Brass Band, 56 involved in thesix small business units plus a good number involved in cemetery duties and general maintenance.
Panapasa says they believe that their rehabilitation programs at Corrections has not been in vain as the reoffending rate speaks for itself. She says as we speak, it is the lowest at 1.5% in the last 12 years since they started measuring the recidivism rate.
Panapasa also says they implore the public to understand that one day all those in the Correction Centres will eventually return to society. She says they all deserve a second chance and society has the responsibility in opening the doors of the second prison, as without this they will reoffend and end up under their care again.
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