Prison talks to police says Commissioner

| 14/10/2008

(CNS): The Prison Service and the Police are communicating, insists Dr William Rattray (left), Commissioner of Prisons, who said that the two government bodies talk through the Joint Intelligence Unit. Questions over the level of communication between the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and Her Majesty’s Prison Service arose on Sunday at a special police press briefing regarding the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts.

(CNS): The Prison Service and the Police are communicating, insists Dr William Rattray (left), Commissioner of Prisons, who said that the two government bodies talk through the Joint Intelligence Unit. Questions over the level of communication between the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and Her Majesty’s Prison Service arose on Sunday at a special police press briefing regarding the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts.

At the time a police spokesperson said that the RCIPS was not routinely informed of prisoner releases and so there was some uncertainty as to who was released on the day of Scott-Roberts murder. By Monday however, police confirmed that one of the lines of enquiry into the murder included an assessment of former prisoners that may be connected to the activist work of Scott Roberts, but neither the police nor the prison would be drawn on the details of prisoners released on Friday or anytime last week.

Rattray explained that to talk at all about specific releases at present could incriminate an innocent person. However, he said that the prison service does routinely communicate with the RCIPS and he said informs them when a prisoner is being released if there may be some concern.

“On a routine basis the prison service will inform the Joint Intelligence Unit if a prisoner with whom we have particular concerns or intelligence suggesting he may reoffend is being released. If we had any intelligence at all that a prisoner was a threat to any individual or the community at large we would categorically tell the police,” he said.

He explained that all prisoners undergo risk assessments and that phone calls made from the prison are monitored. If the prison picks up any hint of issues regarding potential criminal activity, he said the police would be informed of that.

He explained, however, that once a prisoner arrives at their release date, even if the prison has suspicions about the potential future offending of that prisoner, it is unlawful to keep him in the prison.

“We have no choice about liberation,” he said. “We must release prisoners who have served a full two thirds of their sentence who have behaved during their imprisonment, otherwise it is false imprisonment.”

Rattray said that all convicted prisoners are by law are only required to serve two thirds of their sentence. The final third is used as a deterrent or behavioural mechanism to ensure that prisoners behave during their time in prison. If the prisoner does misbehave during his sentence then part or all of that final third will be added on to the time he will be required to serve. However, if a given prisoner remains on good behaviour, even if the prison feels he may still reoffend they cannot keep him incarcerated past the two thirds. Explaining the difference between those prisoners and ones paroled, he said those prisoners who are released early go into the community under supervision and would not routinely be released unless the prison system was confident they were unlikely to commit another crime.

Rattray said that under all circumstances the police would be aware of anyone coming into the community that posed a threat of any kind.

“If we have the intelligence, I can guarantee the police would be aware of that,” he said, adding that the prison spends a good deal of time monitoring and assessing the risks that prisoners could pose in the community.

The police confirmed that the JIU does communicate with the prison and they are informed when a high risk prisoner or someone of interest is released but they still have concerns regarding the regularity of the information, which is given based on decisions made by the prison service.

 “We do receive information. However, this is not on a weekly basis,” a police spokesperson said.

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  1. A Different Anonymous says:

    Logic Soup – – – – – – – – – Assuming that there is corruption in the police force and assuming that the current Special Investigation is targeting corrupt cops whats the ratio of Cayman cops vs foreign cops under investigation so far? Methinks theres a flaw in you logic soup.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to discuss rumours being spread.  I’m not sure if it’s the newspapers or if it’s just the community itself.  People are talking (and talking plenty) about information they don’t know to be fact.  A certain person is continuing to be looked at for this horrendous crime…meanwhile they were in prison at the time – but you’ll hear someone say "oh, I know it for fact!"

    I think it would only be fair for the Director at the Prison or the police to clear the record on this person that was supposedly released last week so that people stop harrassing his family.  Estella was actually close with this particular family and it’s not fair to them in their time of mourning to have to ward off people who have know clue what they’re talking about and just making false allegations.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We are constantly bombarded with negative commentary about the RCIP and their capability. They are being watched closely in this case, and I hope they can solve it, although the further we get from the crime the less likely somebody will be apprehended statistically – so the clock is running.

    On a similar note, if the RCIP are supposed to be acting ‘Without Fear or Prejudice’ and there is so much talk of trust being broken between the police and people, how is this going to get fixed ? I know many fellow Caymanians that will not talk to the police because many of our ‘bad guys’ have connectionsinto the police service. ie – if i say anything to the police, the bad guys can find out where it came from – hence somebody says anything to the police.

    simple solution as hard as it is to swallow – NO MORE CAYMANIANS SHOULD BE ALLOWED ON THE RCIP. not on civilian side nor on officer side. PERIOD. Stack the RCIP with Canadian and British cops and roll them out every 5 years. Dont let them get connected to the community. Familliarity breeds animosity. Get professional cops in here that can do the job and if they dont have connections back to the local community, people may be willing to talk to them, especially if they are professional and competant.


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree.  I have had the same concern on many occassions when looking at the RCIP…why is it that the police from other parts of the world are never higher up in the ranks?  They should be the ones higher up and keeping a handle on any "crooked" cops below them (and even able to see the ones above them).  Until that changes, I don’t see our community changing.

    • The Patriot says:

      Have you ever considered that since the local cops have taken a step back in leading murder inquiries that the detection rate of murders have actually gone down. Who knows why, perhaps this is because they have the huge advantage that people from the lower end of the scale (and lets make no mistake about it bankers, lawyers, accountants and other profesionals are never congregated where serious crime occurs) will only come forward and speak to them. The RCIPS to my understanding spends alot on training their investigators, who are now merely followers of the UK standards of investigations. 

      I believe to say get rid of all caymanians in the RCIPS is irresponsible and clearly shows a disregard for the hard working local officers in the RCIPS. Some of these officers work tirelessly to make our streets safe and they get absolutely no thanks for it and neither do they ask for any recognition. They do it simply because once it gets into their blood stream, they don’t want to do anything else. Many of them are dishearten with the recent criticisms thown their way as a result of all the recent happenings, but yet they continue to go about doing their job day in and day out without complaint. Alot of you right now would do the cowardly thing and quit on the basis that you have better things to do than take all of this BS.  

       Finally, If memory serves me correct the last two RCIPS cops to be fired for corrupt behaviour (charged before the court – led by Local investigators) neither were Caymanian. If i may add as well, evidence over time has shown that one of the most corrupt police forces in the world is the metropolitan police in London. If you don’t believe me then watch the movie the bank job (starring Jason Statham) which was based on real events.    

      • Anonymous says:

        I believe the Patriot is right. The notion that Canadian and British Cops are free from corruption flies in the face of the facts. No, they are not inherently superior because they come from Britain or Canada. When Caymanians make statements like this in respect of other nationalities there is an uproar about how racist and xenophobic Caymanians are. The truth is that when real corruption exists among expats in positions of authority it is either swept under the rug or they are given a quiet exit, handsomely paid off and most people are none the wiser.