Our Work After Release
Being released from prison is a critical time for the inmate and their family. Will the new things take root or will old patterns resurface? Having served their time will the inmate be accepted or be stigmatised by family and/or community? These are just some of the issues to be faced.
The individual success or failure becomes evident in the early months after release so the Operation Foundation team prioritise the support and counsel available to ex-inmates at this time.
Typically we have engaged the family well before release and actively talk through the release and post-release plans. On the day of release we accompany the now ‘ex-inmate’ home and participate in formal reconciliation and welcome ceremonies that are part of the official ‘Yellow Ribbon” campaign.
In the following weeks the Operation Foundation team engage in ongoing visits and contact that reinforces the ‘voice’ that we have built to the ex-inmate while he was incarcerated. It’s in this time, that, together, we discover the real needs of the individual and can proactively work on these free of the artificial environment of prison.
Worldwide research and our experience here in Fiji both show that inner change must precede opportunity given. Our in-prison work is designed to effect inner change and our after-release work is designed to support that inner change and, where appropriate, provide resources that create opportunity. In some instances that opportunity resource may be tools for farming, in other instances it may be tuition for further education. The opportunity given to an ex-inmate is assessed and reviewed through a series of criteria that encourage family participation and individual initiative and responsibility.
After-release work is a mentoring process that is built on the relationship developed by the Operation Foundation team during the incarceration of the inmate. Some of the men that we mentor re-establish their lives quickly where others require greater attention as they overcome different dysfunctions and addictions.
After release work is where Operation Foundation had its genesis and remains the most significant part of our focus and effort.
In a sentence...
Operation Foundation is a Christian Restorative Ministry active in bringing
renewal and transformation in the community of incarcerated offenders and ex-offenders in Fiji.