Outgoing Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Solomon Islands, Barry Apsey, his replacement, the current Deputy Commissioner Francis Haisoma, today traveled to Fiji to share their ideas with Pacific neighbors on how to make prisons better places for rehabilitation.As a recognized leader in correctional services in the Pacific, Solomon Islands has been invited to give the main presentation on the 'past, present and future of corrections in the Pacific' to the Heads of Pacific Island Corrections Conference.
Mr Apsey said both he, Mr Haisoma and Deputy Commissioner Operations, Heinz Konga, were proud of the achievements Solomon Islands Corrections had made over recent years and were happy to be invited to share their ideas and lessons learnt with other correctional leaders in the region.
"With the support of the government and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Correctional Services has made big improvements to develop the capacity of its infrastructure, staff, systems and laws governing the way prisons operate," Mr Apsey said.
"Our aim is to provide a safe, secure, humane and sustainable service for Solomon Islands which focuses on rehabilitation of the prisoners in our care."
The conference is the second time Pacific nations have come together to talk about key issues in corrections. Solomon Islands hosted the first conference in Honiara last year at the initiative of Mr. Haisoma and with the support of RAMSI.
Mr. Haisoma said building networks between other correctional services was one way to keep improving what was happening Solomon Islands.
"The conference is an important chance for smaller Pacific nations to come together and share experiences because we often work in similar situations," Mr. Haisoma said.
"Sharing lessons learnt and best practice approaches in correctional administration will benefit both the Solomon Islands and our neighbors."
The Pacific conference is also a chance to prepare for the larger Asia Pacific conference later this year. Participating countries hope to make recommendations about the key themes in Melanesian countries for correctional services.
Mr. Apsey said Correctional Service of Solomon Islands was well placed to transition its leadership when Mr. Haisoma becomes Commissioner as of 1 November.
"Solomon Islands now has a correctional system that is up to date with international standards of security and fairness, and has built up strong executive leadership to continue to improve the service," Mr. Apsey said.
"We can meet the equally important objectives of community safety and reform of prisoners so they leave prisons as better people than when they enter", Mr. Apsey said.
"As a region we need to work together so that we can continue to find better ways of doing things with limited resources and don't repeat the mistakes of others," Mr. Apsey said.
"Solomon Islands has a good story to tell in this regard."
Press Release (RAMSI Media)