Proposed prison cuts flawed

| 11/11/2010

(CNS): Although the civil service review team said it had identified some $4 million worth of cuts in the prison service, the management has indicated that this is optimistic. Many of the 15 recommendations made by the team will not necessarily realize the savings suggested and may be impossible to implement or dangerous, the prison has warned. From closing down Fairbanks and housing the women at Northward and enforced lock downs to sending home murderers on electronic tags, the prison management has pointed out numerous flaws with the recommendations. The prison said costs are fixed and the team’s methods for calculating cuts have failed to take this into account as well as raised some serious security issues.

According to the review team’s report, its recommendations are at odds with the prison management, which has questioned the calculations for savings as well as the ability of the country to reduce the prison population by as much as 40%.

“A lot of emphasis is made on the reduction of the number of prisoners being held in custody making a drastic reduction to the budget,” the prison management said in reaction to the review team’s recommendations. “It is unrealistic to state that one prisoner less will result in a reduction of, say, $50,000 to the prison budget.” The management explained that by multiplying this out per number of prisoners reduced doesn’t work as the majority of the prison budget is fixed costs. “The only variable costs which could be attributed directly to a prisoner are food, clothing and earnings, and much of the other costs would remain the same.”

The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, under which the prison service falls, also indicated that the maths was wrong. “Management is unsure as to the components used to calculate the reduction in costs based on the number of prisoners by the review team,” it stated. An analysis of the costs indicates that directly variable costs are actually $5,931 per annum for each prisoner.” Management explained that while the per head cost is calculated at over $50,000 reducing 5 prisoners does not result in a saving of $250,000 but $25,000.

While the review team pointed to a collection of radical ways of reducing the prison population and a capital gain through the sale of land at HMP Fairbanks, with a few notable exceptions, the prison management indicated most of the recommendations were seriously flawed.

The prison pointed out that the goal of realizing $100,000 from Fairbanks was unlikely. “It is our understanding that the land actually belongs to the Health Service Authority and not the prison, so we would be unable to sell this land,” the prison managers said. They also stated that there is no accommodation available at Northward that could house the female population, which would mean the prison would incur the cost of building a new female jail “A facility would have to be built and housed in its own compound for security reasons.”

The review team recommended that inmates rated in the lowest risk category could be accommodated at home in “house-arrest‟ schemes and electronic monitoring arrangements. In response the prison pointed out that the many legal issues, not least the fact that a third of the Category D prisoners are actually in prison for life sentences, including the crime of murder.

The prison revealed it was already exploring the possibility of sending high security prisoners to overseas facilities, a recommendation made by the team that it estimated would save around a $¼ million. However, the prison indicated that it had encountered human rights concerns as well as the actual costs being potentially higher than keeping inmates at Northward.

Prison management also warned of the dangers of reducing staff, which was already below minimum for a facility which could be characterized as a low risk prison holding high risk prisoners. The management pointed out some of the problems the service faced with its inadequate staffing levels.

“At present the department does not even have a dedicated staffing team for its CCTV, or sufficient staff to even maintain outside patrol. The inability to respond to incidents or any other emergency due to the lack of staff is to jeopardize the security of the establishment, society and to place staff and prisoners at great risk,” management warned, asking the review team to reconsider reducing staff, especially given the changing profile of inmates and the growing number of violent offenders.

“The department is now faced with having to modify and create another High Risk Unit, which will have staffing implication. The demographics of prisoners entering the establishment is changing with more prisoners entering prison for more violent offences and is linked to different gangs, hence the need to establish different regimes and separation of prisoners. This is also impacting our staffing level. I must therefore call for serious reconsideration of this recommendation,” the prison director indicated.

The controversial suggestion of periodic lockdown days, which the review team said could help relieve the current staffing demands on the prison service and afford a break to some over-stretched officers, was also dismissed by the prison as actually having the potential to have the reverse effect.

“It is totally impractical to effect such a move,” the prison management stated, pointing out the need to still unlock, feed and exercise prisoners as required by law and take them to appointments such as court or medical visits. “Unless there is an incident, [lockdown] is counter-productive, resulting in sabotage, resistance and would require more staff to put out fire fights. Any such recommendation would be totally unproductive and would require a vast amount of staff to run the operation,” the prison added.

The recommendations in the report, most of which the prison warned would not result in savings, would not necessarily be practical to implement and possible present dangerous security risks, were also made against a backdrop of various problems. From insufficient staff levels, officers on grades below their official job, occupancy significantly above intended capacity, the poor state of repair of the prison and an apparent increase in the rate and severity of local crime, the prison is battling to keep the prison safe.

The prison service has an annual budget of almost $14 million which is 4% of government’s operational expenditure, had has a staff of 146 people.

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  1. Anonymous says:

     it would be easier to cut back if everyone found the same page 

    1. person incarcerated for 6 months to 1 year  low security jail is suitable (which should have been built years ago)  they just need 2 buildings and a fence.

    2. persons who commit crimes against another person( assault, bodily harm, murder, or domestic violence) should serve out their entire sentence with no appeal.

    3. has anybody ever thought of the cost of electronic home monitoring and who is in charge of enforcing the rules. charge. the inmate for the ankle bracelet, the signal monitor , and for not being incarcerated, is this so hard to do, don’t pay go back to prison, abscond go back to prison if the inmate really does like to be treated like an animal behind a cage then so be it


    and as long as they are not being used and beaten like animals the what does the U.N. HRC have to do with it, are they P.O.W.s  someone should really read the  U.N. regulations and stop trying to implement their own to satisfy themselves. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Prison..I thought you had the class D murders living outside the prision walls already…Up to a few years ago I knew this to be true..Well cabinet has already approved this so get on and "fin dah moneey"…

  3. Anonymous says:

    how much does the hsa get each year for the prison being at fairbanks? nothing i guess. were all in this together so if that land did get sold say to a big property developer it creates private sector jobs and gives goverment cash too. so even if it doesnt go to the prison, government still wins. Makes sense to me!

  4. Don't worry I wont stay says:

    It’s about the costs.

    The variable costs at $5931 per prisoner per year seem pretty reasonable to me. 

    The "fixed" costs are the ones to look at.

    146 staff!

    How many vehicles, and for what? Transport to doctors and court could be done in a taxi. 

    How much space is under a/c?

    Repair andmaintenance contracts?

    Revenue opportunities?

    The easy way is to do nothing, but if you want things to change you have to change. There is no question you could reduce net expenditure 10% at Northward without sacrificing human rights issues, security, or prisoner comfort.

    What it would affect is the people working there.


  5. Anonymous says:

     This is what happens when reviews are done by people that know nothing about the departments that they are reviewing.  If these are the brightest minds, Lord help us.

  6. nauticalone says:

    Here’s an idea….or two….1) Decriminalize marijuana!

    It causes far less REAL problems than either alcohol or tobacco. It costs more in relation to Policing, prosecuting, legal aid, lawyers, judges, prison personel and related free housing and health care costs. Also in social costs by removing persons (parents) from working and paying for their families upkeep (huge social costs).

    Then….2) license farms to grow marijuana or license importers…or both and charge duties (taxes) as with alcohol and tobacco.

    This drastically reduces costs while also increasing revenues.

    Either of these options will improve finances….and be more fair also!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The report says Prison Officers dont get paid what they should – and then it says to take away their housing allowances! Give with the left, take with the right. Hang on though what happened to the recommendation about paying them what they are due. That got left out so actually its just take, take, take.

  8. Soldier Crab says:

    Cuts are easy.  Not in the prison or police, but the rest of the (un)civil service.  Why does Cayman Brac have two district commissioners both on very fat salaries to sit and read the paper all day.  How often do you see government offices with people idly chatting or doing nothing.  Cut the staff by 25%, nothing will change, everything will still take three times as long as it should to get done.

  9. London School of Economics says:

    You mean if we reduce the number of prisoners by 40% that our overall costs doesn’t automatically go down by 40%?

    Can someone explain "fixed cost" to me, I missed class that day? My mentor, the fat one, says "fixed cost" means that he can usually get someone else to pay it.

    And why can’t we send 40% of them home? They are already out playing football and doing whatever they like anyway. If it wasn’t for the good food, free medical, and TV, more than half of them would never be inside.

    I hope Donnie realises that as private sector consultants we are not working for free. The next time we get the Premier alone in a casino, we might get him to agree that we deserve a percentage of the money we identify as "savings". That’s what I learned at LSE.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can I be on the review team that looks to see if we can make any savings by cutting off some of the "perks" that Donnie and McKeeva get?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The part that really scares me is what Donnie had to say about the review team.

    Did they consider speaking with the departments that they were reviewing? Who are these Civil Servants? Who assisted from the private sector? We need to stop them before they review again!

    Ebanks said the reviews had been conducted by teams of the brightest up and coming civil servants with assistance from the private sector. Ebanks said spending money commissioning an outside agency to conduct the review would have been rather ironic given the goal of the project is to cut government expenses. Now that such significant savings had been identified, he said, the service was committed to making the necessary changes.

    • Anonymous says:

      On 8 Nov Donnie said:

      “To realize $15.2 million in savings from only four of government’s 62 public sector entities is a significant achievement," Ebanks said. "Those sceptics who condemned the approach and affixed to it labels such as ‘the fox guarding the hen house’ will not be as critical going forward when they realize that the approach has yielded accepted recommendations for 21%,” he stated.

      Ebanks said the reviews had been conducted by teams of the brightest up and coming civil servants with assistance from the private sector. "


      Now, the Port. of Int & Ext Affairs (which is also Donnie) is criticizing the Review Team saying:

      "The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, under which the prison service falls, also indicated that the maths was wrong. “Management is unsure as to the components used to calculate the reduction in costs based on the number of prisoners by the review team,” it stated. An analysis of the costsindicates that directly variable costs are actually $5,931 per annum for each prisoner.”


      So, what happened was, Donnie blew his horn before actually reading and reviewing the report by the "brightest up and coming civil servants with assistance from the private sector."


      Looks like he’s joining big mac in the flip-flop game.

  12. Anonymous says:

    these proposals are just crazy, to let some of these people out onto the streets is nothing short of idiotic. yes money can be saved in all departments, maybe moving female prisoners onto half of the eagle house facility then seperate it via a secure high fence and walls will work great. that equals less staff to patrol the wing as northward staff can assist also. but i also agree to reduce ministers and take a slash in wages too. overpaid underworked wannabee politicians is all i see. so many taking from their own people right in front of their noses and nothing is said? crazy.

  13. Make sense says:

    Send low risk Foreign prisoners home to serve their time and pay a cheque every three months for their stay.  Deport them same time.

    Send High risk Cayman and Foreign  prisoners to England or Cuba.  We have no place for High risk hard Labour prisoners in Cayman.

    Send Caymanian low risk prisoners home with foot braclet.  See that they are employed and must report to the police in their district  once every two days.

    Move the Fairbanks prison to northward,  Build a wing for them.  It is better than keeping them at Fairbanks.  It is a waste of Government money at Fairbanks,and  the officers are not active there.  Too laid bacl.

    Prison management needs to change, if only we know.  Prison management will object to everything,  and their reasons is for a reason.

    Northward prison need major changes.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Ceilings fans? There are penelogical safety issues. These individuals exit prison and do return to society. So, be wary of what we do in vengeful manner. Also, if the prison population is going up and recidivism is a concern, money should be allocated to specific programming for specific needs and then, just maybe, we will see a decrease in those sentenced to prison.

    • Rick says:

      Because, they need to be kept safe and secure; safe, meaning from each other or from persons who would go in and hurt them or take revenge, and secure meaning they cannot escape. All of that takes money.

      You live in a house without security and depend on the police to respond when you have a problem. Anyone can break into your house and you can get out if you chose to.

      Got it?

  15. MER says:

    Imagine, we spend more on these men annually than most professionals make in a yearly salary!!!! How can it possibly cost almost $50,000 a year to maintain ONE prisoner!!!!!!! If they were renting an apartment, buying groceries and paying light an water and other bills it shouldn’t cost so much!!!

    • anonymous says:

      Yep – and the report also referred to potentially making redundant the 30 or so "social employees" at PWD (the ones that cant find jobs anywhere else) that are being paid say $24,000 per yr, and who by the way are making a contribution and have thedignity of a job.

      Do we cut them from the civil service and save PWD around $720,000.

      The potential down side is we might have to raise the Prison budget by at least $1.5 million if it costs $50,000 per prisoner. There is food and shelter in Northward when things get really bad on the outside.





  16. Anonymous says:

    Geeez…do I have to take time out of my busy day to tell the government how to run their business. First of all Make the convicts work for their keep. Picking up every single piece of trash on this island. Ever hear of a chain Gang. Sub them out to the Road Works Department. Put two guys on each detail with a shot gun. Have you not seen Cool Hand Luke? So Sorry to get them out of the AC and out from their TV Time. SECONDLY, Don’t compromise the sentence they were handed down. WE are lucky enough the received a sentancel. Why if the police didn’t compromise the evidence and the Judge "didn’t want to be Draconian" and all. Spend more on the police BUT EXPECT BETTER RESULTS. Make sure the prison has what it needs and make sure these people do their time. Why does the government have to be so stupid?

  17. michel lemay says:

    I would like tto know who comes up with these ideas ? Prisons is overcrowded as it is . Send hard core criminals back to their countries and never to return here. They are costly and a bad influence on the Caymanians  there only for a stick of Ganja. Call it time done and make it their countries problem. Closing Fairbanks ? Will only move the problem from one place to another and there is not enough prison guards to begin it. To answer your question about where is the Governor ? Attenting cocktail parties and getting more rope. Sending the murderers back on the street with electronic device!! Do they suffer from short term memory relating to the last person wearing one, took it off and went and get killed while attempying a break in. Are we still in the Cayman Islands ? Hurry up and slow down and think with your heads and not with your…….. wathever.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sending home murderers with electronic tags. Excellent idea being the electronic tag system works so well and all. What a joke.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Primary School Kids would do better research, better analysis and come up with more reasonable solutions than these so called review teams of supposedly professional civil servants.  My God their recommendations are embarrassing.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You have to be kidding me? Sending home murderers with electronic prison tags? Who in the world thought of this one? Are you out of your mind?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t the prison be self-sufficient. They could growtheir own vegetables, have cows & goats for milk and cheese, chickens for eggs, and meat when the animals are killed. Any surplus could be sold at The Grounds

    I am sure there are inmates who could do plumbing, electrical and building for any repairs that need to be done cutting costs for repairs done by outside people

    As for allowing prisoners released before serving their sentences!!! Aren’t there enough shootings and robberies going on without sending more out onto the streets? The victims who thought that they were safe for a few years will be looking over their shoulders again not to mention the witnesses who come foreward giving evidence they are not going to feel encouraged to provide evidence if they think that the person they are accusing could be out in a few years 

  22. Anonymous says:

    The instant goodbye with an immigration ban to non-Cayman national offenders seems like a good idea – why are we paying to house foreign drug-runners and the like for years and years?

  23. very concerned says:

    Who verifies the goods purchased are received, are they securely secured, are items booked out as needed, who are being fed???. a nurturing diet is all that is required by law, 3 medium size meals are sufficent, desert once weekly for good behavior. = $100’sk savings.

  24. Anonymous says:

    ‘….to sending home murderers on electronic tags’

    Are you serious? 

    • Anonymous says:

      I have the actual report in front of me… It actually says…. "The lowest risk and most suitable inmates could be released on home-confinement and electronic
      monitoring schemes"…

      Ha Ha! So not sure who interpreted that to mean the ‘murderers!’. If they are our lowest risk and most suitable then we’re in real trouble!

      So how did we get from the report content to ‘release murderers’????!!!!! Who’s fooling who here?!

      On another note though, I thought we did this already?!!!

      CNS Note: The report actually says category D prisoners and the prison points out that some Cat D prisoners are ‘lifers’ ie people in for murder. "…at least 6 of the Category D prisoners are actually in prison for life sentences…" the report reads. See page 24 in the report.


      • Rabble Rouser says:

        Where can the rest of us see a copy of this report?

        CNS: We attached it to thefirst article about this report but I’ve attached it to this one now also.

    • Truth says:

      Yep, we’re upgrading so instead of them going home with no supervision they are going home with a monitor

  25. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the only real savings that we could make would be getting rid of Civil Service Review Teams if this is indicative of their recommendations.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Remember that ‘fixed costs’ don’t have to remain fixed forever – Let’s keep some vision here – This review is about changing how things are done right? So we can’t just say ‘Sorry – they are fixed costs’. Presumably 40% less prisoners (I’m not saying that’s possible, but just say it was) would mean less ‘fixed costs’ in terms of staff right? and my guess is not all the prison staff are on permanent contracts? so no redundancies and lower ‘fixed costs’ 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree. Sad things is it looks like both the prisons AND the portfolio which probably has more power to change things than this review team are saying ‘sorry that’s classified as a FIXED cost – so we can’t change it’… Come on – Outside the Box please!!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    SURPRISE!!???? NOT!!!

    They pull these Figures out of a Hat we all know this. Yeah set all the prisoners free Im sure the Law will ahve to change! Sentencing and trials will be useless!! We will need more of Sandra Catrons petitions for every case possible!!Start drafting…We know who is in control! What next!!Lets not be too surprised. Where are we going Cayman??and where is this GOVERNOR???Seriously I’m getting a bit worried about him England got any more puppets?

    • MER says:

      Imagine, the average Caymanian family lives on $30,000 a year and a prisoner lives on more than $50,000!!!!!!!!!!! If I was making $50,000 a year I would be the happiest woman in cayman!!! Because $26,000 can hardly do anything when you have 3 children!!!!

      I wouldlike a DETAILED list of everything that is incorporated within this $50,000 annual cost of housing a criminal, because I am certain we can get it down to less than $25,000 if Northward becomes a place of rehabilitation and not RELAXATION!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

         I agree MER but I think it’s probably the costs to secure them that is added in.

        I agree with another poster that says that they can work like making license plates, grow fruits and vegetables, and other work.

        How about clean the beaches?

      • Dred says:

        I’m also very interested in knowing how these numbers come about because it’s rediculously high.

        I just looked at US cost for maintaining prisoners and it sits around US$55.09 per day or US$20,100 per year. I know Cayman is more expensive but are we really saying over 3 times the cost to house them in Cayman?

        If you are saying that you are basically saying all items across the board are about 3 times the amount including:

        – Salaries

        – Food

        – Clothing

        – Utilities

        I would bite on CI$30K because afterall CUC got to make a killing and we always need overpriced salaries.

        Maybe that caller on the talk show had a good point in that we probably should examine outsourcing the prison. I believe we could lower cost per prisoner by 10%-20% which could amount to millions of dollars annually.

        Things that need attention:

        Utility usage – AC no more.

        Food – Chicken should be considered Caviar for prisoners.

        Clothes – I pray to god they are being made locally otherwise we are talking mass stupidity.

        TV – Really?? CITN maybe but it should only be isolated to central food area.

        I hear of all the sophisticated theories on saving money but what about the simple $hit like cutting luxuries and making the darn prison a place where no one really wants to be in.

        I want to hear about prisoners after leaving prison becoming a pastor and giving up all earthly possessions because of the effect of prison on them.

        I believe currently prisoners go back because on the outside they can’t afford the lifestyle they had in prison.

  28. Anonymous says:


    If the prisons are what they are made up to sound like there are very realistic ways to cut the costs of housing prisoners in Northward & Fairbanks:
    (1)    Cuts costs on meals: porridge & toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a hot soup for dinner.
    **who cares if it’s not a wonderful menu – its PRISON not the Ritz**
    (2)    Cut television down to the local FREE channel
    (3)   Cut costs on electricity: Take away A/C and replace it with ceiling fans and take away hot water.
    **yes it will be hot & showers cold but again – its PRISON not the RITZ**
    • Dred says:

      I said this a gazzilion times before but it seems to be hitting a brick wall.

      You could also throw in more programs for prisoners to generate income for the prison to counter act cost being incurred.

      How do we get our license plates for vehicles made? What is the cost associated with them? Can this not be moved to prison production?

      I’m sure we can do other things also. 

      I see many problems with our prison system. If criminals do not fear the system then they are likely to return. As criminals become repeat offenders there is a greater chance for escallated crimes. We need the system to be one that is feared.

      In some instances the prison may offer a better lifetstyle that what a criminal maybe getting outside. Sometimes they may committ crimes to regain that lifestyle because they simply can’t afford those luxuries outside without getting a job and actually working.

  29. CLiberty says:

    To the Party in Power:

    How about start reducing the size of government, introduce a minimum wage, and lowering duties and fees (all indirect taxes)! 

  30. Anonymous says:

    yeh i’m sure that 30 million cut from the deficit is flawed as well