November 30, 2020

Statement by Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs on the HMIP Report of the Prison Service

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Eric Bush

Eric Bush

February 4, 2013

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) releases its report into Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prisons Service (HMCIPS) today, Monday, February 4, 2012 at 7.01pm local time (5/2/13, 00.01GMT).

The report is based on a visit by HMIP to the Cayman Islands in July 2012. In it, inspectors rate HMCIPS’s performance at the Northward and Fairbanks Prisons as “poor” with regards to  safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement, areas that it describes as the four key tests of a healthy prison. They also call for significant investment to address these concerns.

During their visit last summer, inspectors provided daily briefings of their findings to senior staff of the prison and its parent agency, the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, which had requested the inspection through the Governor’s Office.

Their conclusions dovetail with those of experts from the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge in summer 2011, and a report by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) which was published in early 2012. Both are available in the document library section on the portfolio website www.pie.gov.ky.

Over the past year all of these documents have contributed to an evidence based approach by the Portfolio and HMCIPS to addressing problems that had become evident within the Cayman Islands penal and rehabilitation system.

A number of key accomplishments and initiatives which look to directly address the concerns in the reports include:

  1. 1.    Safety
  • HMCIPS has updated its adjudication procedures for dealing with prisoner offences and/or grievances against staff. The policy is presently being piloted for six months.
  • Repairs are being made to existing buildings so that juveniles currently in Eagle House can be relocated by mid-February 2013, and segregated from the adult population.
  • With regards to illegal drug use, the security department is conducting an ongoing assessment of current prevention measures to determine where these can be made more effective.
  1. 2.    Respect
  • A council of inmates elected in January 2013 allows prisoners to share their concerns, and is helping to establish a more collaborative relationship with staff and management.
  • A new partnership with the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) and the Civil Service College (CSC) aims to improve management and leadership skills
  • Works have commenced to repair any damaged structures that require immediate attention, although with limited funding, a report on which will be published.
  1. 3.    Purposeful activity
  • The Prison has partnered with the University of the West Indies (UWI), City and Guilds Caribbean, and the Institute of International Recognized Qualifications (IIRQ) to certify the programmes that it delivers.
  • Each inmate will also receive a personalised health and fitness plan.
  • An internal work board has been established which coordinates placement of inmates in the different jobs available around the prison. It aims to foster good work ethics, learning and skills development, diversity, equality, etc.
  1. 4.    Resettlement
  • A public-private partnership known as “Fresh Start” has assumed the role of identifying outside jobs for prisoners, including employment areas in which they can participate in while they are still incarcerated, e.g. through a day release programme.
  • The inmate reentry planning process and the officer advisory scheme have both been reviewed to ensure that they follow best practice in corrections.
  • Re-entry planning is now mandatory
  • All inmates will have a comprehensive re-entry plan that includes an accurate and timely assessment of their needs in various life areas.
  • Officials are investigating strategic links between the goals and objectives in the national crime reduction strategy, and the role that the prison system plays in reducing reoffending through resettlement.

Stressing that the process of improving the prisons system is ongoing and will be for some time, Chief Officer for the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Eric Bush says ““We know where we were when we requested the inspection, we know where we are now and we know where need to be. There are still many issues to be addressed but the important thing is that we have a defined roadmap, based on the Inspectorate’s report and other expert findings, that provides us with clearly defined short, mid- and long-term goals. Accordingly we will be able to judge our performance and achievements not just from our own perspective, but based on these international benchmarks.”

With this aim in mind the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs has already requested that HMIP revisit HMCIPS in 2014.

The Chief Officer notes that challenges remain to comprehensively addressing the key areas outlined in the report, in particular the need for a substantial investment in capital during economically austere times.  Yet by the inspector’s next visit, he says the Portfolio expects that the Prison will not receive a rating of “poor” in any of the four key areas.

Following the appointment of a new Director of Prisons in April 2013, as well as the recruitment of other key members of staff, the pace of the reform process is expected to increase.

The Portfolio would also like to express its appreciation of the Governor’s office for the support that it has provided to the prisons improvement process to date. This included initiating contact with HMIP at the Portfolio’s request.  The last visit by the Inspectorate to the Cayman Islands had previously taken place in 2001.

The Inspectorate’s report will be posted on www.pie.gov.ky this evening at 7.01pm (local time), as soon as it is published in the UK.

 

 

 

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