FCS struggles with medical care for elderly inmates

July 5, 2024 5:54 am

[File Photo]

The Fiji Correction Service is facing significant challenges in managing the medical conditions of inmates, particularly those over the age of 60.

According to the FCS, in Nasinu, over fifty inmates in this age group convicted of sexual offences are suffering from serious medical conditions, including strokes, which render them incapable of self-care.

Commissioner Dr. Jalesi Nakarawa says that upon admission, comprehensive medical examinations are conducted for all inmates, often revealing pre-existing medical conditions that the FCS is legally obligated to treat.

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He says this responsibility is further compounded by the fact that some inmates are serving non-parole sentences imposed by the court, preventing any possibility of early release despite their health conditions.

Dr. Nakarawa says that FCS officers are required to step in as caregivers for these inmates, ensuring they receive the necessary medical attention and daily care.

He notes that this additional duty places a considerable strain on resources and staff, who are primarily trained in correctional management and not in providing medical or caregiving services.

He says they will be working closely with healthcare professionals and other relevant authorities to provide the best possible care for these inmates, but the situation underscores the need for broader discussions on the management of elderly and infirm inmates.

The FCS is exploring various solutions, including enhanced training for correctional officers in caregiving, improved medical facilities within correctional institutions, and potential partnerships with healthcare providers.