FCS reviews handcuff policies for prisoner transport

June 8, 2024 12:45 pm

[Source: NPR]

The Fiji Corrections Service is undertaking a comprehensive review of its operations practices, including an assessment of the use of handcuffs on prisoners escorted to courts or hospitals.

Commissioner Dr Jalesi Nakarawa says the review aims to establish a formal policy to guide the discretionary use of handcuffs by officers in charge, based on the security rating of the inmates.

Dr Nakarawa says currently the use of handcuffs on inmates during court appearance is at the discretion of the Office in Charge.

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He states the decision is made in accordance with the perceived security risk posed by the inmate.

The Commissioner highlights that the FCS always prioritizes the safe and secure custody of prisoners, which sometimes necessitated the use of handcuffs for those who present an escape risk.

He stresses that the decision is informed by the inmate’s previous record or new information suggesting a potential escape threat.

Dr Nakarawa notes that in a recent assessment regarding the cases of former PM Voreqe Bainimarama and former Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho, it was concluded that neither inmate was considered a flight risk.

Consequently, he says it was deemed unnecessary to use handcuffs during their court appearances.

However, Dr Nakarawa says should future assessments indicate a heightened security risk, the use of handcuffs may be implemented to ensure safety and prevent any potential escape.