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Ex-offenders continue to be marginalized

October 19, 2020 12:33 pm

The majority of the offenders who were released from the corrections facilities during the COVID-19 period are facing greater financial difficulties as they continue to be marginalized and not given a second chance.

Yellow Ribbon Programme Staff Officer, Waisale Soqonakalou says the situational prison which comes after serving a sentence needs to be eliminated as these offenders are trying to get back on the right track.

Soqonakalou is calling on the Vanua, church leaders, and stakeholders to help offenders get accepted in society.

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“At times we feel that we have two prisons. The physical prison in which the men and women of the Fiji Corrections Service are manning and the second prison it’s outside of our society. Some of these offenders whenever they go back into our society – they are again imprisoned in the second prison which is the situational prison sometimes they are marginalized in the job offer or better living opportunities in our communities”.

In an effort to campaign on the issue, the Fiji Corrections Service will be having its Yellow Ribbon Walk on the 31st of this month.

Soqonakalou says the initiative has been approved by the Ministry of Health.

“We have liaised with the Ministry of Health in terms of COVID-19 restrictions so, on the day of the walk, we will maintain the restrictions. Hand sanitizing, social distancing and also for the walk, instead of walking in groups we will be staggering the walk – so walk in groups of ten”.

The annual walk will be held at Albert Park in Suva and aims to campaign on giving inmates a second chance.

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