Prisoners need rehabilitative help while serving time: Priest

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PRISONERS while serving their terms need rehabilitative help and guidance, Catholic priest Fr Robert Nolie says.
Nolie, the chaplin of the Baisu jail in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, said that laws were there not only to punish lawbreakers but also to protect their rights and give them a chance to be rehabilitated when they reintegrated into society.
Rehabilitation programmes, according to Nolie, were the difference in changing a prisoner’s outlook and mind-set.
“When lawbreakers are convicted and sent to jail, they should not be forgotten,”he said.
Nolie said prisoners were still members of communities and needed to be useful, productive people when their jail terms ended.
He said jail was a punitive as well as a rehabilitative period for those who broke the law.
Nolie called for the Leave Of Absence (LOA) law to be applied on merit.
“When Prime Minister James Marape talked about finding a way forward for prisoners I appreciated his idea because I did this five years ago in Baisu jail.”
Fr Nolie said he had been running a rehabilitation programme in Baisu which involved looking after livestock (pigs, goats, ducks, fish ponds and chicken) and farming crops as well as receiving basic technical and vocational training.
“From these projects we have made a profit of K5,000 and I believe that once the Government focuses on the rehabilitation side then many bad people will completely changed.”
He said many prisoners in who had been involved in farming had told him they applied the knowledge they learnt and had had success.