Government sends mixed signals on offenderrehab

| 18/11/2011

criminal-background-check.jpg(CNS): The government says it is currently assessing the rehabilitation of offender’s law and may provide a way for people who have served sentences of over two and a half years to wipe their criminal record clean after a certain period, but voted down a motion to confirm the issue. During a debate in the Legislative Assembly, Thursday, regarding the need to give former offenders who have stayed crime free for 15 years or more the chance to rehabilitate on sentences longer than 30 months government said the issue was under review. Ezzard Miller’s private motion was rejected, but the attorney general said it was “a work in progress” and as the matter was in hand there was no need to accept the motion.

The North Side member said he filed the motion following representations made to him by a number of his constituents who had, many years ago in their youth, fallen foul of the law. He pointed to the problem created in the law that does not provide for the rehabilitation, or wiping clean the slate for anyone who served 30onths or more despite having decades of a crime free life.

He said people had been convicted of an offence that saw them serve such a sentence as much as 30 years ago but still they could not get a clean police record. Despite having gone on to lead exemplary lives, bring up successful families, make important contributions to the community and more, these people are still, under the law, unable to rehabilitate despite committing no further crimes since their conviction.

Miller asked government to introduce an additional tier to the rehabilitation law allowing those who had served over 30months but not more than five years a chance to wipe the slate clean and become rehabilitated provide they stayed on the straight and narrow.
The lack of rehabilitation was, the independent member said, not only preventing people from gaining visas to travel overseas but the everlasting criminal records were affecting their ability to secure employment.

With employers needing police records for their work permit holders, Miller said an increasing number were extending that requirement to Caymanians which meant people who had been to jail for more than two and a half years no matter how long ago was handicapped in their efforts to find work.

After some two hours of debate during which all members on both side of the House agreed with the spirit of the motion and acknowledged the long standing concerns and complaints from their own constituents, the government benches still voted it down, saying it was already under review.

indicating his disappointment that government had failed to give a specific commitment to what he said was a specific problem Miller was puzzled by the government’s reluctance to say what it intended to do with thelaw. 

He said as a representative of the people when he had genuine concerns from his constituent that he felt could be addressed as a responsible member he could do nothing more than bring the issues to the attention of government setting out a solution.

Miller added that he hoped the issue would be addressed and that the civil servants working on the amendments to the law would not see government’s failure to support his motion as an indication that this problem was not a priority and the legislation would never see the light of day.

 

Category: Crime

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Isn't this what pardons and commutations are for? Apply to the governor or whomever it is that deals withthat.

  2. Jab-Jab says:

    Simply offer 'long-form' police reports. That way employers, US immigration, etc., can see if you're a 'repeat offender' or if it was merely 'a youthful indscretion'.