By KELVIN JOE
WHEN Presley Jnr Peraki completed his studies at the University of Papua New Guinea in 2014, he decided to pursue a career in the Correctional Services department because he see detainees as people who can be agents of change among their peers.
“I always have this sympathetic feeling towards prisoners whenever I see them and know that one day they will find forgiveness and freedom. They will become renewed persons after they leave the prison walls.
“I don’t see prisoners as offenders but people who can be rehabilitated to a level where they can be good examples to their peers and members of the community.
“I know that there would be challenges in terms of carrying out my duty but I did not hesitate to take up this career because I have this motivation to guide the prisoners to a better place.”
Presley has been serving as the functional manager projects and rehabilitation at the Bihute Prison in Goroka, Eastern Highland for the past three years.
Presley, 31, hails from Yampu, Kompiam/Ambum district in Enga. He completed Grade Eight at the Par Community School in 2005. He then attended Four Square High School and Kopen Secondary School where he completed Grade 12 in 2010.
In 2011, he secured a place at the University of PNG to pursue a four-year Bachelor of Business Management course majoring in Human Resource Management. He graduated in 2015.
Presley applied when the Correctional Service department called for applicants to its officer cadet programme that same year.
It was a two-year-officer cadet course at the Join Force College located in Igam Barracks, Lae. He completed the training in 2017.
“The Correctional Service institution is like the health department. People committing crime need different rehabilitation programmes as their medicine to become good citizens.”
Presley manages officers who have their own cultural way of life, sometimes acting in their own cultural bubbles.
“ I always have this sympathetic feeling towards prisoners whenever I see them and know that one day they will find forgiveness and freedom. They will become renewed persons after they leave the prison walls.”
But he managed to overcome the challenges focusing on human containment to reduce crime.
“What we usually do in the prison environment is to rehabilitate, reintegrate, and reform the convicts so that they go out as a new person into the community.
“It is our duty to transform the detainees to leave behind the stigma of being murderers, rapists, drugs and alcohol addicts, robbers when they are released.”
Presley views prisoners as human beings who are also bound to make mistakes.
“They will not be affected or feel rejected but will return to society as new persons.”
The rehabilitation and education programmes for prisoners is also meant to reduce the number of repeat offenders. Presley does not regret his decision to become a warder after leaving university.
He feels he has a duty to help those who need to be given a second chance to redeem their mistakes and become useful members of the community.
“When we treat them well and provide them with relevant training, the number of prison breakouts and repeat offenders will be reduced.”