Contestants visit prison inmatesINMATES at Vaturekuka Prison in Labasa waited patiently in a line for the arrival of the10 contestants of Vodafone Festival of Friendly North yesterday.
02 September, 2010
They were all smiles as the contestants made their way up to them and shook hands with each inmate.
Prisons supervisor Northern Sakiusa Veiwili said the presence of the contestants showed the willingness of people in giving prisoners a second chance.
"The passion the contestants showed by visiting the prisoners indicates that there is a change in mindset of people to forgive the prisoners and give them a second chance," he said.
"This small gesture of help means a lot to prisoners because they feel they are looked down upon by the society.
"But, the community's willingness to accept them in the society encourages the inmates to repent over their sin, not to reoffend and live a humble respectable life," Mr Veiwili said.
He said bringing positive change to inmates was difficult because change could not be brought about with only money.
"What they (inmates) need is love and acceptance, a sense of belonging so that they do not hurt the community again," Mr Veiwili said.
Queen contestant Miss FSC Vasiti Meidivinigauna said people should learn to give prisoners a second chance.
"My heart was touched to see young boys in the prison but it was surprising to see their capabilities in farming and providing a good entertainment show.
"The prison and corrections department is providing valuable programs they can use back in their villages, like farming," she said.
The prisons service says many inmates "who sincerely wish to make a fresh start on their release, often face an uphill battle".
It says genuine attempts to lead their lives normally have been fought with obstacles all along the way, due to the stigma associated with their former status.
Once their past is revealed, they are conveniently shoved aside missing out on excellent opportunities to exhibit their genuine desire to make something out of their lives.
Source: Fiji Times
Vaturekuka Corrections Facility
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