Bermuda looks at shipping prisoners to the US

| 09/04/2010

(CNS:) Following the recent announcements by the Cayman Islands premier that he would be approaching other leaders of overseas territories about creating a regional high security prison, an article in today’s edition of Bermuda’s Royal Gazette indicates that country has been considering sending its prisoners to what are perceived to be tougher jails in the United States. The UK has reportedly said prisoners from Bermuda could be moved to the UK or other OTS but has said nothing about the States. A number of people in Cayman have also been calling for serious offenders at HMP Northward to be sent abroad to serve their time.

At a meeting in West Bay last month McKeeva Bush announced that he would be speaking with leaders of other OTS about collaborating on a project to either rent, buy or build a facility outside of their respective jurisdictions but where their collective, high security or capital offenders could be sent to serve their sentences.(See CNS article)
Although the Gazette makes no mention of Bush making any approaches to Bermuda it suggests that the UK has said that prisoners from there can be sent abroad to the UK and Overseas Territories, according to the Deputy Governor.
Discussions between Bermuda and the US Consulate as to whether prisoners can be shipped to American prisons, however, have yet to take place. The country’s Public Safety Minister David Burch said that a number of US prisons are willing to take Bermudan prisoners if governments pay the right price indicating that it was anticipated that sending them to the US would still be cheaper than the cost in Bermuda.
According to the Denver Post it cost an average of $23,876 to imprison someone in the US in 2005, the most recent year for which figures were available. The cost varied widely between states with Rhode Island spending $45,000 while Louisiana spent $13,000. In Bermuda it costs $80,000 to incarcerate someone.
The country’s deputy governor David Arkley said there were existing legal mechanisms in place in Bermuda which permit the transfer of prisoners to other Overseas Territories or to the UK.
“The legal, technical and financial aspects of any other schemes would have to be resolved satisfactorily and further discussion is required on the issue," he said.
Not unlike public sentiment in Cayman towards HMP Northward the Bermudan premier said Westgate had been accused of being less than a prison.  “And we often hear people in the legal community say that prison in Bermuda is not as difficult as it might be in some other locations. And the thought is that some of our people would benefit while incarcerated in other jurisdictions," Dr Ewart Brown added.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    why go England??..just send them to Cuba prison a good realty check, I’m sure they will be so reform after that experience they won’t want to commit another offence..the cost to house them in a Cuba prison would be so cheap aan save the government thousands of dollars. ALL DEM BAD BOYS WILL BE GOOD BOYS AFTER THAT GUARANTEEEEED!!!!

  2. Bruce says:

    Has anyone noticed that the countries with the toughest prisons have the most criminals? Why is that?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats rubbish. Cayman has one of the highest murder rates in the world, yet the prison is like a Sandals holiday resort.

      • Robert says:

        I take it you have actually been to Northward Prison and experienced the Sandals Life???

  3. Anonymous says:

    Prisoner tourism is another idea, and one that could even become a great world solution.

    Medical tourism, where patients travel to other countries to receive inexpensive quality medical, is already a flourishing international business.

    Prisoner tourism, where prisoners would be escorted to other countries to receive inexpensive secure imprisonment could also be a flourishing international business, especially if crime continues to rise.

    Under prison tourism, the world’s prisons, either publically or privately owned, would compete for prisoners, and the source country would select the lowest bidder for their prisoner care.

    This could be an idea whose time has come.

    An economic, excellent, efficient, and practical solution for the incarcination of those who break the law.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Uh, pardon me, but who said any of these countries would take these prisoners? Have you checked the prison systems in the U.S.? They already have a prison overcrowding situation so I don’t see them accepting other country’s prisoners. The solution is make Northward a tough prison system but that would mean the officers would have to be trained to be tough and not put up with anything. Make the prisoners raise and cook their own food, work at cleaning the roadsides and pickingup trash, learn to make something to give back to the community – in other words, be a totally self-sufficient system to save government dollars. Every inmate, except the very worst ones, should have to work at hard labor and if they try and escape sic trained prison dogs on them and don’t be afraid to shoot warning shots into the air to let them know you’re serious. Prison should be punishment, not a country club. Wanting to send your problems for someone else to handle is ridiculous and shows the world and your community how weak you really are.

    • Anonymous says:

      While it’s true many government run prisons in the US are overcrowded, privately run prisons have space and actively seek to house prisoners from other jurisdictions.  One operator is mothballing a prison in Oklahoma for lack of prisoners!

  5. Anonymous says:

    By sending prisoners overseas Cayman would be punishing the families including children as they would not be able to visit their partner/parent in prison. Cayman would then have to fund the families trips overseas for visits.

    Get a complete set of prison directors, revamp the whole prison system in cayman and convert Northward to a prison from a hotel



    • Common Sense says:

       Punishing the families and baby mammas???  You MUST be kidding me!  It is YOU, the "enablers" that allow these criminals to live the easy life, take the short cut of crime-not-work, and are the same families that throw cell phones and drugs over the fence to these LOSERS!!!  

      I say, NO family visits unless the inmates test negative for drugs and have WORKED fore the privilege 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes, of course, it makes so much sense to send our criminals to a system that already has its own criminals and problems to deal with. You think that the ‘tough prison system’in the US or Brazil or whichever other example people have given became what it was today by just being in another country? No. The government should get its act together and toughen the prison system here on its own soil and stop pussy footing around the issue.

    If we were to setup our own regional prison for repeat offenders and high profile criminals, that would be appropriate. We live in the Caribbean, with islands abound. For example, try brokering a deal with countries in possession of uninhabited islands on which to build a prison system to include various criminals from around the Caribbean, isolation, and hard labour everyday where the group would have to grow at least 50% of their own food. Rotate prison guards, hammer out strict rules, heavy sentences, limited contact with the outside community- the prison system can be just as hard under our own than put into the hands of the Americans or others. In the long run, it could do us and our neighbours some good.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well i was in prison in the U.S and from my experience the prison system there ain’t all that bad the hardest part was been away from home.

    First i must say though that i like the’re hand in policies with respect that NO ONE absolutely nothing comes into the prison apart from a bank draft that’ll go to your commissary or Canteen account thats what it is called here. Phone privilege if you don’t have money again a bank draft on your phone account you won’t make a call and that account only have numbers of your family and you can’t use another account to call so in other words if you don’t have money on your account you won’t make a call AT ALL.

    Even to newspaper and or magazines if they don’t come from the subscribers it’s not allowed in the prison at all.

    And for the prison it self Wakeup call for all 630am every bed is to be made by 7am and breakfast then by 730am off to Class or work and thats all inmates with there I.D. Identification cards is issue to every inmate. if it is distroyed or misplace you have to buy at you expense and that money comes from your savings account with which you work for and your pay is in between 19 to 40 cents per hour anybody caught out of bounds after this time is in serious trouble especially without I.D.

    I remember getting into an arguement and been put in the SHU (special Houseing Unit) for 3 days and only 1 hour for excersie. so for worst punishment such as fighting and or been Gay your time in the SHU is 15 to 30 days talking back to an officer after giving an direct order is 2 months or been caught with contraband for ETC ( anything that wasn’t sold on commissary) got you a  longer time the SHU and mind you me these officers didn’t play and you didn’t have the previledge of haveing anything from canteen only what your we’re fed thru the peep hole from the kitchen .

    After work it was back to the unit for head count at around 330pm and then time for supper and then you could mingle on the campas with about 1200 other imates now you’ll see some crocheting, styling hair, knitting, playing cards or just chit chatting around nobody getting into trouble cause no one wanted to go to the SHU HELL NO.


    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps you were ina minimum security prison but as a volunteer to a meduim security prison with all the gangs accounted for I can assure you that it was not a picnic as you describe it to be.

      I regularly heard inmates state how much they hated the institution. I have met long time inmates that were scary as they lived by the inmate code, I have met gang members who scared fellow inmates.

      So your locked up time was not my experience.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bermuda has an excellent idea here.

    But Premier Bush’s is better.

    It should cost far less to send our vermin to a high security prison somewhere in the Caribbean area.

    Would Cuba be a good place?


    • Anonymous says:

      The UK would never allow our prisoners to be sent to Cuba because of Cuba’s human rights record.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately, you’re probably right. Cost wise, Cuba would be a good option though, and it’s the closest.

  9. PaperCaymanian says:

    If they go to a prison in Louisiana they will WORK.Instead of the guards being thier servants (which is totally true at Northward) they have to work.

    Of course privatizing the prison could probably work also.

    • Anonymous says:

      Louisiana saves money by not air conditioning their prisons.  And it gets terribly hot in the Delta!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bermuda, must be the place to live if it costs $80,000 to incarcerate someone, that is $25,000 more than in Cayman.  I am sure that Bermuda will soon transfer some of their prisoners to other OT or the UK to prison as they have the existing legal mechanisms in place to do so and won’t have to wait to be part of building a regional prison to send the worst of their bad apples. Way to go Bermuda! you sure don’t fool around.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just toughen the prison terms in Northward and enforce proper code and conduct you would likely see a change.  (Example: amned the dress code (try using a pink prison suit like in one prison in Texas) or at least that shirts tucked in and not low riding pants, etc., amend the visitor policy (ridiculous that drugs can be taken into a prison by visitors), limit the activity for inmates to educational based activities).  Also amend the food (oats for breakfast, lunch, & dinner small portions for all!).  Limit the allowed media, and no tv whatsoever!, it’s flippin’ prison!!!!  If the inmates want the luxuries of the owrking class, then they need to work hard to get out and keep out (where possible, i.e. non-life sentences)).  Also make a mandatory 1 or 2 year sentence of solitary confinement for person convicted of a serious crime (rape, murder, etc.). 

    That’s just a start! 

    The politicians, prison director(s) and parole board and persons in charge of the prison need to make policies for the  life in jail so miserable (the conditions should not be overly abusive or have a total disregard for human rights though, but the very minimum allowed) so that no one wants to go there or return if they were there!

    Also the judges need to stop allowing these ridiculoous concurrent sentences for serious crimes (make them consecutively sentences)!


  12. Anonymous says:

    If it would cost us less to ship violent/dangerous criminals and repeat offenders abroad, I’m all for it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes that is excalty what the Cayman Island Government need to do, ship them off to a harder prison system.

    Cuba, United State, Mexico, Colombia to name a few places.

  14. Other Side of the Coin says:

    There has been much talk about how some expatriates in the main of society feel as though they are unwelcome intruders in a land that is not their own. I can only imagine how terribly frightening the possibility of becoming an "Expat Prisoner" in someone else’s country might be. Perhaps this is just the right deterrent to make a would be perpetrator think twice about committing the crime in the first place….

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lets get it going! What are we waiting for! No more vacation for Northward inmates!

  16. Anonymous says:

    No point sending prisoners to England. It’s as bad as Northward for letting the cons live in luxury. They spend all day on the PS3 or facebook.

    Let’s send them to Brazil or the tent prison in Arizona. Somewhere horrific which will deter them from re-offending and discourage kids from following the criminal career path.