August 28, 2016 9:12 am

Delana calls for removal of stigma against youth inmates

Fijian communities need to remove all stigma associated with youths who have served in correctional facilities. This was highlighted by the Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana while speaking to eighteen inmates serving their terms at the Levuka Correctional Centre in Levuka earlier this week. Mr Delana said that stigma can have a long lasting influence […]

Fijian communities need to remove all stigma associated with youths who have served in correctional facilities.

Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana at the Levuka Correctional Centre earlier this week. (DEPTFO)
Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana at the Levuka Correctional Centre earlier this week. (DEPTFO)

This was highlighted by the Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana while speaking to eighteen inmates serving their terms at the Levuka Correctional Centre in Levuka earlier this week.

Mr Delana said that stigma can have a long lasting influence on the development and growth of a young person.

DELANA: “Stigma can have a long-lasting influence and impact on the development and growth of a young person . Especially for inmates, disabled persons, people with intellectual disabilities and also youths living with AIDS or HIV.”

He imparted his experience to the prisoners as he grew up with the stigma as a disabled person.

DELANA: “However, you can beat this by living your dreams and work hard towards achieving your dreams despite the opinion of others.”

Mr Delana also encouraged Government officials during the visit to egurantee they help with the recovery of these Fijian youths so they may become effective citizens when they return to their communities.

DELANA: “It is should be our collective effort as Fijians and civil servants to create awareness and ensure that all stigma associated with inmates and their history are removed so these youths can create a new positive future for themselves.”

He also encouraged the youths serving time at the Levuka correctional facility to start dreaming new dreams and be ready to work them when their terms are over.

Levuka Correctional Facility assistant minister
Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana at the Levuka Correctional Centre earlier this week. (DEPTFO)

Meanwhile, the eighteen inmates also requested the Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide them with empowerment training to prepare them for their release.

They  also requested for sports equipment to keep them busy and healthy while at the centre.

Officer in Charge POC Trevor Raiwalui said the Department of Corrections continues to provide programs to inmates at all its centres around Fiji.

RAIWALUI: “The programs and assistance provided by Government aim to prepare every inmate to integrate back into the community as soon as they are released from the correctional facility.”

POC Raiwalui was grateful that the Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports accepted the invitation to speak to the inmates.

Mr Delana told the inmates that the Ministry has conducted Seeds of Success training in Naboro and Natabua in Viti Levu.

DELANA: “Such training is ideal for youths serving their terms in these facilities. It will empower youths to realign themselves and become aware of their role and how they should conduct themselves in the community.”

He said that the Ministry can partner with the Department of Correctional Facilities to ensure that youths in correctional facilities are empowered to become better citizens.