Force last resort at prison, says chief officer

| 13/12/2010

(CNS): The chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs has said that force will still be a last resort in the prison, despite the recent commission of non-lethal weapons for some officers working in the service. In response to enquiries about the decision to purchase a range of rifles and launchers that shoot rubber or wax bullets, designed to temporarily immobilize rather than seriously injure or kill victims, Franz Manderson said the prison had to prepare for emergencies. He said certain staff have already been trained to use the non-lethal weapons but any use of force would be authorised under the prison law.

“It is crucial that prisons are prepared with contingency plans for emergencies or natural disasters and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service continues to strive and has been proactive in having contingency plans that meets our situation,” he said. “It is must be stressed that the majority of prisoners are compliant and simply wish to do their time and make the best use of the available opportunities to better prepare them for a productive life after their release.”

With the increasing population and the increasing number of violent offenders now incarcerated at Northward, it was recently revealed by the manufacturer that the Cayman Islands Government had bought the weapons from the Ontario based Lamperd Less Lethal. The firm said its weaponry is designed to ensure the safety of military and civil defence personnel by disabling an opponent rather than killing. It is used by military and police forces around the world for crowd control and peacekeeping activities. It is particularly well suited for situations where there would be a likelihood of harm to bystanders if conventional weapons were employed, the firm states on its website.

Manderson confirmed that certain members of the service have been trained and certified in control and restraint and in the acquisition of less lethal tactics by the Canadian manufacturers.

“Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service is an unarmed service, which relies on the interpersonal skills and the training of the officer to de-escalate conflicts when they arise. Force is seldom used and only as a last resort. Any use of force must be authorised in keeping with the prisons law,” the portfolio boss stated.

There are currently just under 200 prisoners serving sentences in HMP Northward, with several more currently on remand for serious and violent offences. Despite the increasing numbers of violent offenders and with a few isolated exceptions, the prison does not have a problem of violent disruption within its walls.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Force should be first resort at prison…..oh what am I sayin, there there are you comfy, I understand, your just misunderstood…would you like some more cream with coffee, can I get your slippers? need to make a phone call? Anything you need?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am almost positive that if Northward was more reminiscent of Kingston Public Prison than the Ritz-Carlton on Seven Mile Beach there would be less crime.

    When the price for committing a crime in Cayman is an extended stay in Northward, where there are T.V’s, air conditioning, regular visits from friends and family, and ‘outside play time’, the criminals of our island can’t be expected to be deterred.

    I know some people OUTSIDE of prison who are living worse than those INSIDE prison. Can someone explain this logic to me? I am by no means condoning corporal or capital punishment on island, however, I do think that those individuals who choose to break the lawshould be punished accordingly.

  3. Al Nomadi says:

    Rubber bullets can kill and seriously maim. 

  4. MER says:

    I would suggest that they purchase a few of these non-lethal weapons for the police officers as well since they do not wish to equip them with guns.

    Funny enough the criminals have no problem with equiping themselves with guns…..

    • Kraez says:

      Sure, let’s shoot criminals with rubber pellets, while they shoot us with bullets. We’ll win for sure. 😀

      • MER says:

        Better than spraying them with pepper spray I’d say, it’s a start 🙂

    • Pete Mitchell says:

      My sentiments entirely, but my only concern would be that is the ‘crims’ feel the need for guns when the cops only have a baton, what would they feel the need to escalate to, or use more readily, if the police had less than lethal ammo?

      Less than lethal weapons and Tazer may well be the way forward, but doesn’t this imply an underlying failure of the police to garner any sort of respect of effective control on the islands?

      Give a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters and eventually they will produce the works of Shakespeare, but don’t expect them to do it by the weekend! It doesn’t matter how you equip a half-wit, it won’t make them a good police officer. The responsibility for our police service lies with the bosses, not the front line officers. There may be some complete idiots on the front line, but if they are not being lead properly, then they will not be effective.