PERMANENT Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Service Karen Qalokale has told 40 newly graduates of the Correctional Service of the Solomon Islands (CSSI) to be good role models.
The statement was echoed by Ms. Qalokale on Friday during the graduation ceremony of new recruit officers, known as ‘Sir Baddley Devesi Recruits 02/2019.’ Out of the 40 graduating recruits; 31 are males and 9 females.
She told the graduates that as Correctional Officers they must positively influence the inmates.
“Accept the fact that you are a good role model to the inmates, and you should be respectful and setting good examples to them, helping them cope with the many challenges of life they encounter behind bars,” she said.
Ms. Qalokale told them to understand that unlike other jobs where clients seek assistance from them willingly, ‘clients’ of correctional institutions are there against their will. “Thus, Correctional Officers take heart, your primary role in looking after the inmates is essential to human services professions.
“The hallmark of any profession is the commitment to a robust code of ethics and to task expertise.
“Therefore, I encourage you to uphold your integrity and professionalism towards your role and responsibilities as Correctional Officers.
“Your work ethics and goals must be guided by the vision and mission statement of CSSI.
“Do not work in fear or doubts or laziness but build your competency and confidence in yourself and use your best discretion to deal with various circumstances.
“Your training does not stop here but take every opportunity to learn vital lessons and strive for improvement,” the PS said.
She also told them to take pride in wearing their uniform, which symbolizes the values and virtues of the Correctional Service of Solomon Islands.
She emphasizes that Correctional Officers play an essential role in any Correctional facility and the criminal justice system, and also correctional Officers form the ‘Foundation of Today’s Correctional Institution’.
“The term Correctional is used to describe the criminal justice system that carries out the courts’ sentence. As such, be reminded that your primary role as correctional officers is to-and I quote- “ Look after inmates with humanity, helping them to reform and lead law-abiding and productive lives upon their release,” end of quote.
She said this role, however, is multifaceted, demanding much more than managing inmates.
“Some of the tasks are basic skills like opening and closing of gates. Other tasks are much more complex such as monitoring offender behavior, restraining, and use of force.
“The work can be overwhelming, tiring, and stressful, especially to new officers. More so, shift work or rotating shifts and extended duty have always been a part of the correctional system.”
She also stressed that each custody level has its unique challenges for Correctional Officers, thus, Correctional Officers are often described as being in stressful roles.
By FOLLET JOHN