Fiji: The Community Based Corrections Act 2018 will be effective from 23rd November 2022, as published in the Government of Fiji Gazette No. 49, on Friday, 4th November 2022.
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar is the Minister responsible for Community-Based Corrections (CBC). Minister Akbar said that CBC plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of the community.
“This Act has the primary objective of ensuring that children and adults who commit minor offences are sentenced to community-based corrections rather than receiving a custodial sentence.
Their rehabilitation will occur in the community and be supervised by trained community volunteers.”
Minister Akbar added that this type of response is recommended by the Convention on the Rights of Children and the UN Beijing Rules on the Administration of Juvenile Justice.
“Community-based corrections is recognized internationally as being more prone to real rehabilitation, successful reintegration of offenders and prevention of recidivism.”
“Indeed, it is known that, especially for minors and young people, imprisonment does not always provide real re-education,” she said.
“With the Community based corrections, courts are provided with a range of sentencing options appropriate to each case. On the other side, the whole community is enabled to play a meaningful role, take an active part and volunteer in rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders,” she mentioned.
To ensure the enactment of the CBC Act, the Ministry has resourced the establishment of a section within the Ministry and has organized the training of CBC volunteers across the country. The training has helped build the capacity of these volunteers to ensure that children and adults under CBC comply with the community order given by Court.
Minister Akbar says that their work will help people to rehabilitate and reform within their communities. This work is critical as it will leave a lasting and positive impact on the people engaged under this programme.
“We thank the Legal Aid Commission for co-facilitating the training and providing the legal interpretation of the Act.”
She added as they commence the Community Based Corrections Act, the staff and volunteers are ready to make this Act a reality and a success story in Fiji and an example of legal and social innovation for the other countries of the region.