Fiji’s Corrections Service has successfully drafted a policy for HIV/AIDS.
This follows a 2-day “Supportive Environment” Workshop that came to end yesterday which revolved around the care and understanding of the fatal disease within the service.
Given the nature of their work and daily interaction with inmates, a handful having tested positive to HIV, Corrections spokeswoman Ana Tamani said establishing a policy was of utmost importance in that it not only educates and ensure Corrections Officers take proper precautions but also ensures that there is no discrimination against the affected few.
At least three out of the 1540 inmates held in the FCS’ 12 institutions around the country are known to be HIV positive.
“In drafting a HIV/AIDS policy, the FCS has achieved another milestone being the first department in the disciplined service to undertake this course,” Tamani said.
Director Corporate Services Peniasi Kunatuba said the programme is a step further in the work of the department from the paradigm shift of containment to corrections.
“There are no bad persons, our task is to ensure that those under our custody become responsible and economically-contributing citizens at the end of their incarceration,” Kunatuba said.
He went on to acknowledge organisers of the workshop describing the 3-day event as learning and enlightening experience that has changed “our thinking.”
The 2-day workshop was conducted in cooperation with the ILO, Pacific Islands Aids Foundation, Fiji Red Cross and the Ministry of Health.
By Lavenia Vuadreu