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SI Rep says inmates must be ‘counselled and guided’

SI Representative Simon Mannie said there is life after prison but inmates must be counselled and guided to pick up the pieces after their incarceration.

He said this after returning from a one-week Prison Fellowship International at the Asia Pacific Regional Forum in the city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

As current Secretary of Prison Fellowship Solomon Islands and Coordinator of the Sycamore Tree, Simon Mannie said helping hands must be extended to those released from prison to enable them find their feet again.

“We want prisoners to be better people and have bright futures once they have served their jail sentence. The community on its part must accept them without prejudice,” said Mannie.

“Prisoners are one of the least-reached groups in the world. They are locked away, isolated and vilified.

“They need support and courage not only from their families but also from the community after prison.

“And that is what the Prison Fellowship does for the prisoners, to help them become good value for their families and communities,” he said.

Mr Mannie explained that the organisation exists to serve prisoners, former prisoners, children of prisoners and their families.

“We are a Christian organisation driven by gospel values to bring God’s love in practical ways to those we serve especially the prisoners, ex-convicts, their families, victims and the criminal justice,” said Mannie.

“Our vision is a reconciling community of restoration for all involved in or affected by crime, thereby proclaiming and demonstrating the redemptive love of Jesus Christ for all people.

And our mission is engaging the Christian community to pursue justice and healing to an end that offenders are transformed, relationships are reconciled and communities are restored,” he said.

Towards the end of the forum in Malaysia, he said they were keen to work with those who felt the call to be involved in supporting those that are affected by crime, (prisoners, their families and the victims of crime).

According to Mr Mannie, the Prison Fellowship International comprised of 120 countries across the globe including Malaysia.

He added that about 45 members of the associations attended the forum.

He said that the objective of the inaugural forum held at Malaysia was to help members improve governance of their national ministries.

He further added that the forum was also to enable each country update their association and on progress in each country’s national ministries.

Meanwhile, Mannie reported that the PFSI’s immediate task is the re-organisation of its governance system to put in place a visionary and committed PFSI board to design and oversee activities of our national ministry to those affected by crime.

He further stated that PFSI is not a religion, therefore they do not discriminate race or religion. They are a ministry to those that are affected by crime.

Mannie was invited to the forum to speak on the reconciliation work he has been doing with prisoners within the Correctional Service of Solomon Islands (CSSI) under the Sycamore Tree Programme.