by Colleen Barilae – EM TV, Lae
Agricultural projects and awareness outreach programs are activities that inmates continue to engage in during their terms served at the Buimo Correctional Institute outside of Lae.
The welfare and rehabilitation programs at Buimo are convenient to correctional officers in helping inmates change old habits and improve.
Serah Joe, a female inmate involved in carrying out outreach programs at various schools, institutions and church groups in Morobe, has developed herself with this rehabilitation program.
Other programs the inmates take part in are sporting events, literacy programs, home economics and ways of doing sustainable business.
“Though I broke the law and came here, I’m happy I’ve learnt many new things. I thought having the fence and brick walls around me would hold me down but I learnt many things,” Serah said.
She strongly emphasised on other women outside to not take life for granted and live responsibly.
“It is being disobedient that led me here, so I’d like to encourage them [to] be obedient. This way, they will become decent women, marry decently or find a good job, work and live happily outside. The prisons are places where burden is found,” she said.
Commanding Officer, Superintendent Judy Tara made reference to a new surveillance system that will be introduced in Buimo to help correction officers carry out their duties more effectively.
“We are hoping that will help us properly monitor prisoners upon admission and we can monitor them all the way to their discharges. That will help us in properly helping inmates through their rehabilitation programs here,” Superintendent Tara said.
The story is one of the few successstories away from normal prison life. The rehabilitation program challenges Papua New Guinea’s negative conceptions on prisoners.
Those who are part of the programs are given many things to start a new life once they get out of prison. Among them are pride, encouragement and determination to achieve.