Prison staff drug tested, UK inspection planned

| 05/03/2012

Prisongate (232x300)_0.jpg(CNS): As a result of ganja found in the administrative wings of HMP Northward, as well as inside the secure perimeter fences of the prison recently, all guards, prison staff and even officials in the Portfolio of Internal Affairs have been tested for drugs, including the portfolio’s chief officer, Eric Bush. All tests over the four day period were negative, Bush said. The tests were made as the portfolio plans changes to improve the overall operations and effectiveness of Cayman's prison system, and a team of two representatives from the UK prison’s inspectorate visited Cayman this week to do some preliminary assessments ahead of a full inspection expected to take place early in the next financial year.

Explaining the reason for the testing of staff, CO Bush said that there have been concerns about the prison in the community and changes were afoot. He confirmed that the officers who are away or on sick leave will also be tested when they return.

"Whilst a few officers remain to provide a specimen due to overseas travel or approved extended sick leave  prior to the testing being initiated, I am happy to report that the 135 results received to date have all been negative,” Bush said. “In addition, the staff of the Department of Community Rehabilitation who work in both the female and male prisons on a regular basis, also submitted to testing willingly, together with their Director, and results were negative for all. The testing was conducted by the Forensic Department at the Health Services Authority. “

Bush said that over the last few years, the prison service has experienced a number of incidents where drugs and other contraband have been found within the secure confines of the prisons. Positive steps are being taken, he said, to improve the overall operations and effectiveness of the service. 

Another portfolio initiative is an external third party inspection of the prison system by the UK’s prison inspectors  — Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP). The Cayman Islands governor has invited HMIP to conduct a full inspection of Northward and Fairbanks Prisons. A team of two inspectors were in Cayman last week undertaking a preliminary assessment ahead of the full inspection which will take place in a few months. The last inspection in Cayman was almost a decade ago back in 2001.

HMIP is an independent inspectorate which reports on the conditions for and treatment of those in prisons, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities. It provides independent scrutiny of the conditions for and treatment of prisoners and other detainees, promoting the concept of 'healthy prisons', in which staff work effectively to support prisoners and detainees to reduce reoffending or achieve other agreed outcomes.

In addition to its role in carrying out a regular programme of inspections in England and Wales, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons may be invited to inspect other facilities, such as those in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Overseas Territories.

Governor Duncan Taylor welcomed the news that there would be an inspection.  “A visit by HMIP is timely, given the two recent reports on the quality of life and rehabilitation of local inmates by the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada respectively, and given that it has been some 11 years since the last inspection. I am particularly grateful to HMIP for agreeing to undertake the work for just travel, accommodation and subsistence costs,” he said.

CO Bush has recently reorganized the portfolio’s management structure to focus expertise in the right places and ensure responsibility for the provision of correctional and rehabilitative services are maximized, as he noted that there has been a reduction in rehabilitation.

As part of the re-engineering process, Kathryn Dinspel-Powell’s role has evolved to include responsibility for the strategic oversight of the prison service. As the Deputy Chief Officer for Corrections and Rehabilitation, Dinspel-Powell, with an extensive background in counselling and rehabilitation, will also continue to oversee and support the Department of Community Rehabilitation, which is led by Teresa Echenique-Bowen. 

"I am very happy to have someone of Mrs Dinspel-Powell's background and expertise who can guide the strategic development of the corrections and rehabilitation services in the Cayman Islands," Bush added.

Dinspel-Powell began laying the foundation for this by liaising with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) to assess the rehabilitation needs across the continuum, from the prison through to the community. Now that this report has been received, she will be working with key managers and staff in both the prison and the Department of Community Rehabilitation to implement the key recommendations.

“The portfolio, as well as senior management and staff of the prison system, are determined to ensure that our services are in keeping with established best practices in corrections and rehabilitation. We expect that the insight to be gained from an objective third party of this calibre will be invaluable”, said Dinspel-Powell.

Category: Crime

Comments (9)

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  1. Inmate lodge says:

    Just another Farce by those incharge? No one accused anybody incharge of  HM prison of using drugs  Mr BUsh . They have however got some very troubling questions about who is distributing narcotics at the Prison and no urine test in the world can quell those suspicions So  you and others need to stop playing these sick little games and deal with the real problem at the White house.?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another sign of incompetence, waste of funds and indirectly or otherwise, promoting corruption XXXX. They should be having random tests done all the time, period!!!

    Hopefylly they will use blood work for analysis versus urine and might better indication of what is/was in the blood.


    Overall, another act that sickens me to my core since we truly don't have people who can stand up to certain people and do what's right.


    BTW…….. did they suspend the Director and Deputy yet? they do have Caymanian status and should be treated equal to the locals. They want equal treatment then that should also apply to suspension when under such 'suspicious' circumstances that are begging for investigation. Come one treat them like Smith, Conolly or the way any other British/Caymanian in charge would be treated. Suspend, resign and replace with another foreigner!!!!!!


  3. Anonymous says:

    Are these people serious? The officers were given advanced warning.

    It doesn't take a genius to know that if your job is on the line and you have some warning that there will be a drug test administered that you will, by any means clean up your system.

    For pete's sake, inmates can ingest something so simple as garlic and get their system clean in a matter of about ONE day. What do you think officers who have access to just about everything in the free world can ingest?! 

    And by the way, rule #1: suppliers don't get high on their own supply (if they get high at all)- hint hint

  4. Anonymous says:

    What kind of crap is this? You don't announce when inspections are going to take place!

    Food inspectors don't notify restaurants before they show up. The whole purpose of the inspection process is to see things as they are, not after getting everything pretty for the inspectors. By not knowing when the inspectors will show up tends to keep people on their toes at all times. More surprise inspections would go a long way in keeping the prison and other departments in order. Anything less is a waste of time and money.


  5. Drug free says:

    That is a joke.  I have seen persons go and take frug test here for work permit and it came back positive, and they went back and had another test done after drinking vinegar and Bust Powder.  I saw this happening with my two eyes.  ASo Hello!!  That was a foolish test.  Bye

  6. Anonymous says:

    Of course if you do the drug test after notifing everyone a couple months in advance, wouldn't it give them enough time to detox and clean themselves up? Just after this test, they should unexpectedly after several months, do it again and see what happens. 🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hmmn…I wonder if they had advanced notice they were gonna be tested cuz I'm surprised no1 failed. I doubt any1 in our gov't was smart enough tomake this random. It's not as if drugs constantly remain in ur system.

    • Dwayne says:

      Come on people read before you respond. Clearly all the tests could not have been done in one day unless you wish to shut down the prison and the HSA. As far as I know both Ganja and Cocaine remain in your system for much longer than 4 days. So what's your point now? For once given someone in Government credit for doing their jobs.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes let's give them credit for giving advanced notice of a drug test after illegal substances were found in officials' offices.  GOOD JOB! ha