OT secure prison in review

| 24/06/2011

(CNS): The proposal to send Cayman's high risk prisoners off-shore and remove the pressure from Northward is currently being discussed by members of the Overseas Territories Council, the governor has revealed. Duncan Taylor said that the UK is considering the possibility of creating a high security facility which would be used to house all of the regional OT's serious offenders but the problem is finding a territory willing to host the prison. One of the suggestions put forward in the national crime prevention strategy, unveiled this week, to send high risk prisoners overseas would enable the local prison to focus on rehabilitation rather than security and get to grips with the high recidivism rates.

Premier McKeeva Bush first raised the idea last year at a public meeting in West Bay in the wake of a spate of shootings in the district but he had suggested housing the facility in another country. Bush said at the time that because of human rights he didn’t think people were afraid to go to Northward Prison and Cayman needed somewhere else to send its serious criminals.

“I am going to propose to my colleagues that we develop … a regional prison for serious crime that will be in a country outside of the territories,” he said. “All of us would put our funds in to get an outside prison … a place where human rights don’t bother them so much.”

Speaking about idea on Wednesday, Taylor said the UK was considering having a single facility in one of the Caribbean territories but aside from the location another stumbling block was the rights of family members to visit their incarcerated relatives and having the prison offshore would make that difficult.

The governor did, however, note the possible advantages for the current prison system as he said much of the prisons time and resources are directed at security issues because of the dangerous prisoners currently housed there. He explained that the much needed rehabilitation programmes are sacrificed because of the need to maintain security levels due to the category A prisoners being housed in the same prison as category D offenders.

“The Overseas Territories Council is exploring the idea of a regional high security prison for the OTS,” Taylor stated. “I see some benefits in that, if Northward didn't have such high risk prisoners in there, it would be a lot easier to implement programmes. If it were a low-to-medium secure prison, the environment can switch from a security punitive one to one of rehabilitation.”

One of the major criticisms by the working group which researched the crime prevention strategy was the failure of the prison to offer rehabilitation for its offenders. The strategy pointed to the need for drug and alcohol counselling to be reintroduced at the prison. “This should be part of mandatory sentence planning, which is at the heart of the rehabilitative process,” the document states.

Over 70% of prisoners have a drug and or alcohol problem but none are receiving help and with budget cuts all rehabilitation programmes have diminished significantly, the report found. Sentence planning, which is at the heart of the rehabilitative process, is not mandatory.

As a result of security taking priority over rehab and reform of prisoners, they leave HMP Northward under license because of good behaviour without any comprehensive assessment of changes in attitudes and beliefs following their participation in programmes like anger management, sexual offenders therapy or addiction treatment.

Category: Politics

Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why dont we turn the Hurricane Hilton into a maximum security prison.

    We can collect money from the other OT's and maybe the Brac can be self sufficient instead of a money pit for Grand Cayman.

    It would ease unemployment there generate revenue and so on.



  2. Anonymous says:

    Why is it so impossible for criminals to be reformed just look at Australia once upon a time it was a penal colony and just look at their citizens how world class model citizens. Now how is that for reform?

  3. Right ya so says:

    What is the definition of "high risk" prisoners?? Unless that is clearly defined people who disagree with the powers that be could be defined as "high risk".

    We are quickly and surely becoming a country ruled by a dictator – anyone one of us could be deemed "high risk" in coming years!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Rights of family members to visit their incarcerated relatives! What about  the righst of family members of the victims who are deceased by the hands of some of these prisoners. Unfortunately, the only place they can go to visit their loved one is the cemetary and even then they can only look at a picture of their loved one on a tombstone. Is that right? As far as I am concerned they should put them all on a rocket and see how far they can go. Why should their feelings be considered when people have to live with broken hearts for the rest of their life because of the loss of their child, brother,sister,father,mother etc. SEND THEM AWAY AND FORGET ABOUT THEM!

  5. West Bay resident says:

    70% need treatment for alcohol and drug problems. Isnt a few months in prison the best form of cold turkey drying out?

    • Anonymous says:

      A few months? Cold turkey? ..No it doesnt work that way. Once they are released they are brought back to a society that has drugs which will cause them to relapse, if they dont know the triggers of their use. Just because you go to jail doesnt mean your going to stop when your out. It takes a average alcoholic to fully recover from their addiction 5-7 years. If you cut "cold turkey" your just abstaining from the use of the substance. It doesnt mean you are better, because you still are going through withdrawls and addictive thoughts. Treatment for them is having a relapse prevention program,impatient or outpatient program. By having that you will have someone able to watch out for the warning signs of relaspe and how to have sobriety and live a normal life without using substances.

    • Married to a Caymanian says:

      The Brac!  Great infrastructure, right sized population, good airport, I AGREE….turn the Hurricane Hilton into a prison and allow the Brac to financially contribute to Cayman.  

      However, Ju Ju would have to swear in church that she would not PROFIT from this sensible venture.  Stop the greed (both power and money)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why do we have foreign nationals here walking free and given "status" in the great give away after being caught with 2 lbs of ganja?

    An overseas prision is where these people should be not free on this islands while young Caymanians are being sent to prision for a joint.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is not a bad idea and I hope the majority of the prisioners that are sent overseas will be those that are not Caymanians and the really dangerous offenders.

  8. Anonymous says:

    panama please, panama, send them there –  that will certainly be a deterrent. all this craziness about rehabilitation simply doesn't work for hardened criminals. they know one thing and that is to create fear in a community. no one is going to give them a job anyway. any chance in life is over anyway after several visits to northward so whats the point in wasting more money, time and effort on them.  we need to start taking a real hardened approach to this situation if we ever wish to discourage the younger generation from a life of crime.

  9. Naya Boy says:

    If it such a wonderful idea and UK is suggesting this for the OT’s Why doesn’t UK send it most violent offenders overseas???? Nelson Mandela was also sent to Robben Island prison for fighting a very repressive regime in South Africa or have some of you convienently forgotten that fact. Australia was a Penal Colony I really wish some you would stop and think. Since we categorizing persons i think we should also add in those business persons who enable terrorist, fraudsters drug traffickers and dictators to corrupt and damage the worlds economy and harm and kill innocent civilians or commit genocides with their stolen and plundered wealth they are no less guilty than these violent offenders who we now condemned to be shipped overseas. They in fact are a more serious threat to society. As for some of you keeping following your colonial master and his suggestions and plans because he is going to jail you next after he makes space in the same prison.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What percentage of prisoners are Caymanian? I have always thought that non-Caymanian prisoners should be sent home to serve their sentence. The prison is over-crowded and that leads to immense problems. We would have to pay for their imprisonment but it would likely be cheaper than here. How many "high risk" prisoners do we have anyway? I can't see any of the OT's volunteering to have a prison for all the OT's high risk offenders.

  11. Pro Caymanian says:

    Send them all away!!

    i bet they would think twice about comiting a crime again!!!


  12. Whodatis says:

    The benefits that could be gained from such an approach far outweigh the (perceived) negative aspects of this proposal.

    1. Fear of being sent to an undesirable place is the only effective deterrent against serious crime today as capital punishment has been taken off the table.

    2. Many of our prisoners are not violent individuals but simply guys and girls who were never given a chance in life or got caught up in a cycle of petty offences. These types of offenders are suitable for rehabilitation.

    3. Much of our serious and organised crime is likely being organised and controlled by members of our imprisoned society.

    4. Our country is tiny. (Self-explanatory to the many ways in which this point is relevant.)

    5. As for the human rights of the family members to be able to visit / see / interact with their loved ones;

    a.) Buy a plane ticket! I do not believe we currently transport and finance the family members to Northward prison today therefore what is the (legal) difference between a 10 minute drive and a 5 hour flight?

    b.) Skype.

    • Janice says:

      You said, "As for the human rights of the family members to be able to visit / see / interact with their loved ones;

      a.) Buy a plane ticket! I do not believe we currently transport and finance the family members to Northward prison today therefore what is the (legal) difference between a 10 minute drive and a 5 hour flight?"

      I can agree with everything you say, but that was a cold and indifferent response to someone who has a love one in lock-up. Visitation rights is a human right, and to make it more difficult, especially, financially, is to disregard the very principles that you, Whodatis, would stand for when you make your claims for minimum wage and rollover policy in order to help the less fortunate. You are all talks about helping those at the bottom of the ladder; but for someone who can't afford to buy multiple tickets to see their love one incarcerated for years, all of sudden, you are indifferent.  It just shows you really have no heart.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Personally I think we should send all of our violent criminals and corrupt politicians to some remote place for a very long time. There is nothing contrary to any applicable human rights convention in shipping thugs long distances to prison. An EU precedent exists in that the Faroe Islands send their's to Denmark.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I nominate Visokoi Island. It is part of a British Overseas Territory and would be a really cool place for our violent thugs to hang out.  

    • West Bay resident says:

      Whats wrong with Cayman for a Caribbean high security prison. Other islands see us as remote location. We have unemployed persons who need a job. The youngsters who like playing with guns could be the security guards.

      Oh! you think "not in my back yard". Well how do you think one of  our neighbours would feel about housing our thugs. Let each country take care of its own problems. We need a separate high security prison for those who refuse to be helped with education and craft improvement.

      • Ship em to da Brac says:

        The Brac.  Cayman Airways would finallymake a profit on that route.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Can we send our high-risk MLA's overseas also???

    • Anonymous says:

      Some are overseas most of the time anyway – we just need to cut out the luxury at our expense.

  16. Anonymous2 says:

    Can see this is setting us up. If the UK get Cayman off the UN Charter list of non-self governing territories, who knows what abuse of power will come next.

  17. LMAO says:

    I wish the Governor does something more constructive on his vacation time!  What territory would want to house dangerous criminals from another territory?  That is like Jamaica asking us to house their most notorious offenders!

    Foolish idea! 

    • Anonymous says:

      AGREED. A good idea would be to send the criminals back to their Country, we have no other choice than to keep ours.We have some high risk prisoners such as poor Estellas killers. It is not fair for us to have to feed them for the rest of their lives.

    • Anonymous says:


      lack of knowledge and foresight, you should get your facts straight, before putting  your mouth in gear.

      Sounds like you got something personal against the Governor, he is only trying to do the best for Cayman, and remove the criminals we have, from  amongst us, why don't you vulunteer to house them.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The best investment is Education, Education and Education. It is imperative to educate us from young age with good examples and the difference between right and wrong. Then we would not need a prison. It is not utopic to achive that here in Cayman as our society is still pretty small

    In our actual society the gray area has spread open too much. It is not just young people, in fact most of the adults on one way or another, we do wrong things every day that we believe to be okay or just not "that bad". 

    It will take at least one generation to get a well educated, high values, "no pat on the back needed to do the right thing" kind of youth that can take this country forward in a great way.

    We the adults have not planted the right seeds. It needs to change.

    In the meantime we spent thousand of dollars in rehab classes for people that should have been educated well in the first place.

    I say no mercy to violent people. Pay a third world country to keep them far away. Perhaps that will be a deterrent. I strongly believe that those who rob, hurt and kill within our country are enemies and traitors of the Cayman Islands as a whole and they deserve the most sever punishment. Lets use the monies for things that matter most and that is to educate the future. Today people in prison has almost more rights thatn the ones that are outside of it. Prisoners have medical services, four meals a day, entertainment and they are offered the possiblity to get educated for free in the name of rehabilitation.

    The chips are falling on the wrong side. It is time for a change





  19. Anonymous says:

    Sending Cayman’s criminals overseas is an excellent idea. One of the main reasons our criminals don’t mind going to prison here in Cayman is because they feel right at home, in some cases even more comfortable than being at home. Northward can then focus on the less violent, who might still have a chance at rehabilitation. Who knows maybe one day headlines could read “northward trade school” formerly northward prison.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not just build another section adjacent to Northward for such prisoners?

    • Forelock says:

      Did you mean to imply that former prisoners should be turned into tradesmen leading inevitably to the public perception that tradesmen are likely to be former prisoners?

      Part of the problem here is that those that fail to do well at school are told "there's always construction" implying that the second oldest profession is second or third rate.

      What crap!

      If there weren't builders we would all still be living in caves.


  20. chad says:

    cns: "would be used to house all of the regional OT's serious offenders but the problem is finding a territory willing to host the prison"

    To centralize all maximum security prisoners into one coop, sounds kind of fishy to me. Who is going to pay for that prison?  The Overseas Territories?  And how costly?  Just what is the real reason behind housing them overseas?

  21. cayman stew says:

    Governor:  “The Overseas Territories Council is exploring the idea of a regional high security prison for the OTS.”  Can't clearly see why the UK would want all offenders pent up. Where is that in their framework of good governance and fighting crime on these islands?  I just don't get it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.  ~ Voltaire


  23. anon says:

    Why all of a sudden, the Governor is so interested in locking away Caymanian offenders overseas?

  24. cow itch says:


    I think of the saying:

    "What may seem good may not be good at all"

  25. Natty Dread in Alcatraz says:

    Like a poster wrote sometime back a Crime strategy written by the rich for the rich and how much is this going to cost$$$$$$$ us regional prison sounds wonderful all countries no doubt will have contribute to its building, boy we can sure come up fool fool ideas rather than deal with real problem. Putting people in Exile i thought that went out with the Hoola Hoop. This will all go well until little Johhny son or cousin of so an so connect to elected official or Mr big businessman gets designated high risk dangerous status then you will see some "everyday i am shuffling going on" And you make it be some foreign national it will be down right funky when the country of his birth gets involved. Jail Cayman is for Poor people that what they are saying, so your son or family member can be sent to Ulan Bator which if you cannot afford to travel to visit then tough he is a criminal he has no rights. Well who took away the death sentence the same people who talking foolishness now. All this is Cayman is certain segment of our society who will never go to prison because they can afford not to want to feel safe so they have decided to send the rest of us off to re-education camp 22. Yes and look who came up with this wonderful idea our Uncle Pol Pot from West Bay well tell him Unka say Our freedom is more important than his good idea! Build a segregated wing at Northward just a short distance away from the main facility to house these prisoners separately. Then get rid of all these XXXX inept, incompetent persons government have employed running these law enforcement institutions. Stop blaming facilities for the lack of rehabilitation that is insane. If you want distance people from such prisoners use cameras an design security features in to facility to minimize staff at such a facility..

  26. Bodden says:

    Careful now… yes offendersthat have harmed people should be punished to the full extent of the law, but to send them elsewhere – is that in accordance with the Bill of Rights where they won't be able to see family and love ones?

    Yes, the crime is great, but suppose you are innocent!  And there is always the question- Who will inspect this overseas prison facility?  What happens if there is corruption, the UK uses the prisoners as guinea pigs, or the prisoners are being ill-treated, will the local media have any accessibility?  lol… yes… it sounds funny, but think of the pandora's box.

    What will happen to those who protest and dessent against the government or state – civil disobediance???  These are serious questions we have to ask.  Why is the Governor all of a sudden no more "Missing In Action," speaking to support such an overseas facility to ship locals away???  lol… this appears to all funny to many of you, but there are human rights violations.

    Look at a facility not too far away from us at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Look at how you had U.S. guards beat and even turtored the prisoners, many of them still innocent, and yet there is little accountability as to what happens there because it isoverseas.

    Look at the big picture, folks.

    You may thumbs me down all you want, but just recently they appointed a new UK Justice from overseas, and my concern is how these Justices are appointed and how Justice will be delivered, seeing the mess that is taking place in Turks and Cacois. I understand that this new Justice that is coming here, is coming from TCI. Yet apparently, the people have no say in all of this. 

    Just food for thought.