In the past month the Correctional Service of Solomon Islands (CSSI) has encountered significant challenges resulting in the need to strategically manage the delivery of essential services for the preservation of safety, security and welfare of all inmates being detained in correctional centres across the country, as well as its staff. The introduction of COVID-19 into most communities of Solomon Islands has necessitated these actions, as well as a change in approach by CSSI as to how these services are provided and maintained. This has been especially so during the early lockdown periods for Honiara and the subsequent changes in relation to curfew hours.
CSSI quickly realised that to maintain essential 24/7 operations at the Rove Central Correctional Centre (RCCC), the High Security centre for Solomon Islands, there was a need to initiate operational support for officers to be accommodated in the general vicinity of RCCC. This involved a need to establish appropriate short term temporary accommodation and support facilities.
The Australian High Commission, through Australia’s Solomon Islands Justice Program (ASIJP), supported by Australia’s Solomon Islands Resource Facility (ASIRF), quickly responded to the emergent needs of CSSI and has in the past weeks provided significant logistical support and procurement needs from both within Solomon Islands and Australia. This has included large tent structures, bed stretchers, washing machines and dryers, electrical fans and lighting fixtures, mobile toilet ablution units and a range of other supporting items.
This very timely assistance has allowed CSSI to initiate Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) to support COVID-19 triage procedures for all staff working in RCCC and at CSSI Headquarters. These procedures include clear protocols for the onsite management and accommodation of officers who are negative for COVID-19. They also incorporate the ongoing management of officers who present as unwell or as positive for COVID-19, in accordance with the protocols for such management as directed by health authorities.
The Australian High Commission, through their Australian Defence Force colleagues, have also provided much needed assistance in promptly transporting supplies and personal protective equipment to correctional centres located in Auki, Gizo, Kirakira and Lata.
CSSI is extremely grateful for the support provided by Australia and values the relationship that exists between the agency and the Australian Government.