Tough prisons don’t work, says Manderson

| 08/03/2011

(CNS): The chief officer of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs has said that “tough prisons do not make good prisoners, just tough prisoners” and they certainly don’t help with the problem of recidivism. With the country’s prison system coming under the spotlight as the numbers of people incarcerated grows, Franz Manderson has said that the portfolio is focusing on how to rehabilitate offenders and stop their criminal behaviour in order to tackle the high rate of repeat offending. He said the public needed to understand that the loss of liberty is the punishment and that when inmates are incarcerated theyshould not be mistreated by the system itself but given an opportunity to change their ways. (Photo: Prison cell at Northward courtesy of Cayman 27)

“We don’t send people to prison to be punished at the prison,” Manderson said. “The punishment is the loss of liberty. While inmates are incarcerated they should be given their basic rights.”

With the recent increase in crime there is a widely held misconception in the community that HMP Northward is a glorified hotel and that prisoners are not suffering as a result of being locked up. Having taken up the gauntlet of dealing with the prison system since the death of the former corrections commissioner William Rattray, Manderson says prisoners are by no means living in the lap of luxury at the country’s prison as is commonly believed.

He said that the prisoners are not and should not be cruelly treated because they are incarcerated. Manderson said there was a need to focus on rehabilitation and addressing the behaviour that led to people being involved in crime – not punishing prisoners more.

He explained that the goal is to use the time inmates spend in prison constructively to address the reasons why they offend and to give them the tools to help them lead a crime free life when they return to the community in order to try and reduce what are particularly high recidivism rates here in Cayman. He said that trying to make prisons tough simply does not work.

“I looked at some of the toughest prisons in the world and they did not make good prisoners, just tough prisoners who reoffend,” he said, pointing to Jamaica as an example. “Everyone agrees that the prison system in our neighbouring country is tough but this has not helped to reduce crime in that country,” Manderson added.

There is considerable evidence to support the chief officer’s position as prison reformers have said for many years that mistreating prisoners, holding them in over-crowded conditions or keeping them locked down does not act as a deterrent or ‘teach prisoners a lesson’, as is commonly believed. The theory that harsher prison treatment reduces inmates’ future criminal activity is not born out in study after study, despite the support of the public that inmates should be made to suffer hardships while they are incarcerated.

With a growing population of increasingly serious offenders at Northward, Manderson commended the prison officers for their success in keeping the violence inside the prison walls to an absolute minimum. With opposing gang members and suspects on remand who are believed to have tried to kill each other in the past, this is no mean feat. Despite the tensions in the secure unit, officers have succeeded in keeping the opposing gang members apart.

Although violence is a regular feature in many of the so called “tough prisons” around the world, the officers at Northward have maintained the peace in the general prison population as well, despite the cramped and sometimes difficult conditions. Manderson also said some credit had to be given to the prisoners, many of whom follow the rules and serve their time without wishing to cause further trouble.

With cuts in the civil service, the CO stated that some of the educational and rehabilitation programmes have unfortunately been sacrificed in order to maintain security, but he said that as a result of a number of training programmes the officers themselves will be involved in more prison rehab- programmes, along with the possibility of the formalisation of prisoner led educational and vocational programmes as well. Manderson also said the portfolio is currently exploring the possibility of apprentice programmes for the prison that will equip the young inmates especially with a full vocational qualification.

Manderson said when prisoners have finished their sentences they should be released into the community having addressed the reason why they went to prison in the first place. However, he said, there was a need for more secure housing and jobs on the outside to finish the rehabilitation process.

Kathryn Dinspel-Powell, the Deputy Chief officer in the portfolio who is working alongside Manderson to address the many challenges thrown up by the growing population, said that it is very hard for an offender to avoid their previous criminal lifestyle if, when they are released, they have no secure home and no way of earning a living.

“Two of the biggest problems faced by prisoners being released and the main reasons for the high levels of recidivism is a lack of stable housing and so few employers willing to take them on,” she said. “If you are sleeping rough and no way of earning a living, it’s hard to stay away from trouble.”

There is currently only one half-way house, which is run by an NGO, designed for those coming out of the prison system and transitioning back into the community, which, Dinspel-Powell said, had achieved a number of successful transitions of former inmates. When budgets allowed it, she said there was clearly a need for more stable places for prisoners to come out to because sending them out of Northward with no job and nowhere to live was essentially sending them back into crime.

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  1. dan says:

     the state have to change the rules in jail and make it very hard to stay.

    cause people loved to stay in jail, resons: theres free food, room with bed, gym and so on so they feel happy going back there. jail shoudnt be eassyto stay  jail shoud  be very very though

    for those who do crime 


    life in jail — for those who kill


  2. Laura says:

    At last! Someone who realizes what prison is really about. Prison itself is obviously not a deterrent, no matter how hard or soft the treatment, or prisons worldwide would not be filled to overflowing. Instead, prisoners need to be rehabilitated while they are there so that they can learn how to take their places in society when released. Treating humans like animals does not benefit anyone. We need to start looking at the reasons people become criminals in the first place and try to keep them from doing so, but if they do end up in prison, let us show them another way of living so that they do not repeatedly offend.

  3. Michel Lemay says:

    Taking too soft of an approach obviously does not work either. Just to see the the numbers of re offending criminals that are better treated in prison than trying to reajust in the community.

  4. Anonymous says:

     just another passive approach to fighting crime.

    when are the officials on these boards and councils going to wake up, crime does not get better; there is no discipline in the prison.

    everyday we hear about a study being done and of course it leads to a passive and laid back idea, wake up everybody crime is on the rise and it gets worse from here on

  5. Anonymous says:

    the reasons people re-offend is because they come from a backwards environment, return to the same dysfunctional families and while they are locked up, the keys are being held by people as illiterate and criminal as they are, and who are only doing a job, not because they care about helping to rehabilitate anyone. Your island has gone to hell already, let them all out and finish the job. The best thing anyone could do here is let all the prisoners go free and let them kill themselves off with drugs, kill off the dealers and the rest of the criminals, and then deal with whatevers left. Who friggin’ cares?


  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s True. The guy who was breaking into cars and homes in my Neighborhood over a 2 month period said he’d rather go back in (to Northward) when he was arrested. He didn’t even cover his face when in front of my neighbors security camera. When the cops look at the recording they said “yep, we know him”. There are A LOT of yep we know em’s around here. They, for the most part think anyones going to shoot back at them SO they do what they want. Of course we all know this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pleaseeeee Mr. Manderson this is not a PRISON/ the Gov”t will save a lot of money if they would just send these criminal (anamials) to some Centeral America country. for a small fee (US10,000) per prisoner. the premair should sell that, instead of the water authority.

    • Regional prison says:

       I would support big Mac’s idea of a regional prison.  Let’s put it on the Brac.

      Of course friends and family can visit…with an airline ticket!  

      This would stop dead chickens stuffed with drugs from being thrown over a wall.  I bet if half the criminals knew they would serve hard time overseas, it WOULD be a serious deterrent.

      No TV, no cell phones, no drugs….vocational classes and a library.  Make it tough, but fair.  Allow prisoners literacy help, high school diplomas, job placements….sorry, I think tough, but fair.

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

         Lets make the new ridiculous JuJu hurricane center into a jail.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t remember any politicians sticking up for the rights of the victims here. Where were the rights of the women being raped, or the people being robbed, beaten, murdered?

    If anybody was that concerned about criminals re-offending when they are released, then why are they being released at all? They should be left in there to rot. None of the taxpayers or vicitms of the crimes will be better off by releasing these thugs, so why bother?

    Lets make it so harsh that they are lucky to survive it to the end of their sentence and if they are lucky enough to survive until the end they will be begging not to get put back in there.


    Harsh but fair. Fair on the the taxpayers and victims of crime who shoud be the ones that count here, not the losers in there.

    • Anonymous says:

       Vocational programs followed by job placements would be welcome.  Clearly these Caymanians did NOT get a decent education within our school system.


      Come on!!!  For 20 years you cannot get less than 6,000 student a decent education???  That is the size of a high school in New York.

      We have no one to blame but ourselves!  Bad teachers (er um, let call them voters) continue to plague our systems without accountability.  They ignore the struggling children and only focus on the handful of succeeding children.

      Bad parenting, obesity, violent TV programs from  a young age, video games, "You-owe-me- I’m-Caymanian" attitudes, have all contributed to this problem.  Fat, lazy, and stupid is no way to go through life.

      Parents, you accept that the B or C grade is good….compared to WHAT?!? Here is your wake up call…..your kids would be failing if put against a global average. 

      We lost our children a decade ago and the greedy politicians answers were new buildings and pretty roads instead of changing course and fixing our education system.

      6,000 children….that is all.  And we cannot simply retire,revamp, and repair 600 teachers?  

      It has to start at the top and be owned by the parents.  Stop accepting the C grade and assuming your kids are getting a decent education.  Demand TESTING and for any teacher who cannot prove their methods are passing 80% of their kids…..retire them and get world class educators here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mistreatment at Northward? Hell no! Pampered is more the word. Man those prisoners get some of the best food, a secure environment to live in, free medical and free dental care, weekly visits for friends and outings for shopping etc with the prison guards. They never had life so good. If there is any mistreatment going on, it is the prisoners mistreating the prison guards. I know prisoners who will quickly reoffend when they get out, just so they can go back to Northward, where they don’t have to work, but get fed, get water and soap to bath, and a comfortable, clean space to sleep every night; a whole lot more than they get when living a “free” life on the street.

    Let’s face it, most prisoners are people with a poor education and lacking skills that can get them employed. Their comprehension and social skills are at the lowest, they find it difficult to communicate effectively, other than through violence (used for dominance), are very unpredictable and unreliable and are usually addicted to some substance or another. Coupled with all that, the bad habits they learned and practised from childhood has become character traits for them now and that is not something that can be undone easily. They have learned to be sneaky, devious, cunning and manipulative to survive. So for anyone thinking that they are dealing with people with a full deck of cards and they can easily retrain them by giving them good treatment and showing them a better way, they are suffering from dillusions themselves. Each prisoner has to be assessed and evaluated to determine what their needs are relative to the issues outlined above and more and whether they are treatable and what amount of time would likely be required for that treatment to be effective. It is no use to the court sentencing them to one year imprisonment when it will take five years, ten years, or a life time to sort them out. Some of them may never be able to cope on their own in the “free” world. For those that cannot, might it not be better to engage all prisoners in the construction of a secure “city” for themselves where they can live a reasonable life in a “controlled” environment? It will provide hope, purpose and a sense of achievement for them as they labour to provide a secure and meaningful future for themselves and the rest of society.

    • Anonymous says:

      So let me get this straight, lets me nice to the prisoners, lets name a few: the two that brutally killed Estella, the man that killed Sabrina, the indiviudal that shot the four year old, can’t recall his name but the crime happened over ten years ago, the murder of the store owner in George Town, the killer put him on his knees and shot him in the back of the head, this is just to name a few. Sorry you commit a crime, you must pay for the crime. Franz, get your head out of the sand!!!! This is why Cayman is in the shape we are in now, everyone is in denial and everyone wants to handle situations with Kid Gloves!!!!!
      Human Rights, give me a break, they gave up their Human Rights when they commited the crime. They had other choices. I am sick and tired of hearing, they were unemployed, they had one parent family. There are choices good ones and bad ones, if they are stupid enough to make the bad one, then so be it.

  9. Slowpoke says:

    As usual, there is the "punishment works" mentality in the responses to this article.  I have had many differences with Franz over the years, but I am in full agreement with him on this position.  

    For all you naysayers, please read the research – no matter how many times you hit "thumbs down", and how many times your parents smacked you and you were instantly sorted out, the evidence is there, read it! 

    • Joe Mamas says:

       So punishment does not work.  What does?  What will keep a man from committing a crime and or returning to criminal activity?  Most people would not think of committing a crime because of the punishment incurred. Punishment has different meaning to different folks.  What would be a deterrent to a man who has no fear of Northward prison? Anyone have a good idea that would be a deterrent/cure, not cost and arm and a leg, and satisfy both the victims and the friends/families of the criminals?  Speak up people!  Your leadership is clueless and incompetent, your courts are over worked and toothless, your police are burdened with protecting a society that gives them little to no help.  Change will only come from you.

      Or not.

      • Slowpoke says:

        Hi Joe,

        I did try to reply to your post earlier, but had connection problems.  Anyway, I don’t know what does.  For some, education, drug rehab, skill training, etc. does, but certainly not for all.

        My point is however, that more punishment, at public expense, does not provide a solution.  If there is a safety issue and not allowing someone out in society, go for it.  But, to think that an individual will not offend or re-offend because of punishment is not supported by the research.  

  10. Anonymous says:

    Rehabilitation?  I don’t think so…not for the vast majority of hard criminals or career  criminals anyway.  And in any case what for???  Until the laws are changed there is no use because as I speak Government Departments won’t accept persons with a criminal background for jobs yet we the public are encouraged and expected to do so.  One example is the PTU (Public Transport Unit).  You cannot get a license from that department to drive tours or taxis if you have a Police or driving record!!!  Even if you pass the medical, drug test, written test and participate in the Pride Training!  There are Generational Caymanians out there who need a job and have proven themselves to be rehabilitated for several years and who desire employment but they cannot get hired because our Government continues to "punish" them long after they have done their prison time.  They have life much harder and are much more mistreated now on the outside than those who are within the walls of Northward.  Repeat offenders obviously don’t have it in their agenda to rehabilitate because they have life much easier and better in Northward.  They have play time, TV, Cell phones, free cooked meals, free haircuts, free clean clothes, gym privileges, free medical care and all their friends etc. etc. etc. so they reoffend to get back in!  Some of the criminals in there live better than they do free in their own countries so what is the incentive to try to rehabilitate them?  I am a firm believer that tough sentences in tough prisons work as a deterrent and that classes other than weighlifting and body building should be mandatory and that exceptional grades should count towards what privileges you are granted such as maybe two showers a week instead of one.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona runs a tough prison for males and females alike and he has very very few reoffenders if any.  His is a model that more prisons should adopt, here and everywhere.  Prison does not have to be cruel but it should not be a bed of roses and should instill by whatever means necessary the message that criminal activity will not be tolerated in civilised society.  Criminals should not enjoy the same rights and privileges as law-abiding citizens.  They forfeited all that when they made wrong/bad choices and they deserve to pay a price for that.  Reoffending does not show me that any lessons in prison were learned or any hardships were incurred.  That speaks to me loud and clear that life at Northward is much more desirable for one reason or another.  All I can say is God help anyone who abuses, attacks, murders, robs, molests, or in any way harms or violates any one of my loved ones, especially if I find they are a reoffender or career criminal.  That is one you will not be babysitting and coddling to try to rehabilitate at Northward Mr. Manderson and I promise you that.    You were soft on Immig. policies that really mattered such as the wonton distribution of status grants that you did nothing to prevent or deter even though it was illegal.  You have succumbed to pressure and catered to special interests instead of making difficult but proper decisions for this country.  The system you are now in charge of has been failing for many years and will continue to fail because of the same soft ideals you subscribe to.  That is not rocket science.  As the saying goes…"THERE IS NONE SO BLIND AS HE WHO WILL NOT SEE."  No wonder crime is on the rise!  We may all have to consider joining Club Northward some day soon!  Roof over your head, no rent, no mortgage, no bills, don’t have to cook or clean, free health care, free clothes and shoes, play time, gym time, free TV etc. etc.  Sounds better than the Pines where I was thinking I would retire… 


  11. Dred says:

    I believe that prisons should be tough. People should look at prisons as the last place on earth they want to be. The fear factor is what we call prevention. People who fear things avoid doing things that put them in or near these things.

    When we were growing up our parents always told us that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I believe that saying immensely.

    In life we have but three choices when it comes to crime. We either prevent crime, solve crime when it happens or some combination of both.

    Now our solving is not exactly working so well. AND even when we “solve” we find it hard to put them away because we mess up the evidence.

    SOOOOOOOOOOOO. We better learn how to prevent better cause we sure suck at solving.

    We need tp:

    1) Cut all the perks. This does two things. 1) It lowers cost of the prison and during difficult economic times that’s a big plus. 2) IT makes them feel exactlywhat it is to be in prison.

    2) Introduce hard labor. This makes the prison life seem harder and maybe the plush life message will disappear.
    3) Seek more measures from the prison that would introduce the prisoners to more skills. Use this to generate funds so that the prison can make more money.

    Look what we don’t want is people coming out of prison saying “wow that wasn’t so bad”. That’s doom’s day for us if this continues. We will continue to get repeat offenders and the prison will become a revolving door for these guys. Well that is if we ever manage to catch them.

    We need people fearing the prison so they don’t do the act in the first place.

    After this we need criminal laws that put people who would choose to brandish guns, knives or other weapons away for a really long time.

    I believe that if someone shows up to the scene with a gun they get 10 years automatically without parole and then we stack on to that for robbery, assault, breaking and entering and whatever else you want to charge them with. Now here is where I want the law changed most. EVERYONE IN THEIR GROUP GETS THE 10 YEARS ALSO. If you knowing take part in a crime that features a weapon you are as if you are holding the weapon yourself. I don’t care if you are the driver or lookout. You are party to the robbery so you get the same as the others.

    What does this do? It puts people away for really long periods of time. It means that’s 1, 2, 3 or 4 people the police won’t have to worry about for the next 10-20 years. This may give them the chance to solve more crime.

    We need these term limits unbreakable. What we don’t want is some soft judge thinking too much. We have too many freaks getting out of prison early.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This mind set that being nice to a prisoner will help rehabilitate them is rubbish. Thats why some of these caymanian young men are so worthless now. There mothers baby sitted them too much and as a result, when faced with the demands of society they crumble.

    Ms. Manderson reconsider your thoughts. There has to be a different approach when it comes to rehabilitation and its starts with physical labor. Make them clean the roads with an armed officer watching there every move. At least thats what they do in the U.S.

  13. Live Free... says:

    Tough Prison don’t work, funny, really funny, this is a small Island compare to Jamaica, come on now, Jamaica would have been 10x worst than it is, if the Prison wasn’t tough over there. I feel a tough Prison would be very effective in changing the mine of the Criminals in Cayman. This is my idea of what kind of Punishment that should be added to the Hotel Northward, as a lot people know it as. (1) Put them in shackles (2) Give them sledge hammers/Ax (3) Supply them with a lifetime of big Rocks to pound everyday, Rain or Shine, do this, and they would surely change there mines. Drop the 3 square meals a day, give them only 2, one time in the morning and one time at night, this is why they are called Prisoners, and should be treated like Prisoners, for they are no longer free, if they wanted freedom, why did they committed their crimes? Obviously freedom was to good to them, so they chose to mess up their lives, so freedom abandon them, so don’t mix freedom with captivity, for it makes no sense to speak of prisoners losing their liberty, as if we should feel sorry for them! If they wanted to keep their Liberty, then they would not have committed their crimes, so punishment is their reward. Like the Bible said, don’t spare the Rod and spoiled the Child, the same goes for a Prisoner, take away their freedom, and it would make them change their lives, the Prison have to break them also, not by just locking them behind bars for 5yrs, and when they come out, they go and commit the same crimes again, for the Prison system here is weak, due to lack of punishment being implemented, and that clearly shows that the present system is not working, bottom line, something just needs to be done with the Prison system. And surely, I have no problem with Rehabilitation, but it’s just not enough to break a criminals mine, so I would combined some kind of a punishment along with having Rehabilitation, for punishment would give the Prisoner something to remember and think about, and the Rehabilitation would help the Prisoner seek ways of living a crime free life, once release back in society. Ruling out punishment, defeats the whole purpose of a Prison in the first place.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well done Franz for opening up the debate and providing some leadership on the issue.  There is a crises at the prison, as despite what some would have you believe, the RCIPS are putting more in there for the more serious offences.  Eventually it will be full, and how do we reintegrate those that are not there for life.  The ideal is that they come out having learnt their lesson and slot back into society……….. we know that is not going to happen, but someone needs to make the best shot at it.  There are a number of options that can be explored, some may fit here, others won’t.  But as ever, anyone trying anything positive and leading with their chin open themselves up to the armchair brigade who do all the talking and little of the doing.

    And our appreciation to the prison staff that do keep the prison secure and manage the various factions in there. Not an easy job, and reading below, only a few give credit.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am confident that tough prisons arent encouraging.
    Prisons are places for offenders to be punished.
    Basic rights are food and water.

    I dont think our current strategy for punishment is working, Franz.

  16. Anonymous says:

     LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: You have just witnessed the complete failure of a country by its leaders. For someone to even remotely mention going EASY on the criminals that are destroying Grand Cayman only proves that this is going to become a drug state.  A failed state.  It’s over.  No going back now.  I won’t be coming back. 

  17. Jorge says:

    We all want tough prisons until we or our children are put in prison and right away Northward and Fairbanks are the worse places on earth.

    Thank you Franz and Kathryn for making the efforts to ensure that our prison is carrying out its mandate and that prisoners are being treated fairly.

    Remember folks they are all going to get out of prison one day!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Remember folks they are all going to get out of prison one day!!

      Yes they will, only to pick up where they left off because life atNorthward and Fairbanks is much better than on the outside.

  18. Rupert says:

    How refreshing to see senior civil servants opening the debate on one of the most vexed issues in this country. Mr Manderson, please do not be put off by the negative posts- you are right to raise these matters and seek to educate the public. You did an excellent job at immigration and we are expecting the same from you in your current role.

    We may not always agree with your views but we respect the fact that you are open and honest with the public.

    Time will tell whether your approach will work- I think we can all agree that the current approach at Northward is not working. Thank you for taking on the challenge.

    I also wish to record my thanks for the brave prison officers who keep the dangerous members of society in prison and reduce violence in the prison.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not a case of "the current approach at Northward is not working".

      It never has.

      The problem is that criminals go to Northward, see what life is like inside, then re-offend knowing that the worst that can happen to them is that CIG will house and feed them for free.

      If you introduced the same kind of arbitrary and vindictive treatment for prison inmates that visitors, work permit applicants and just about anybody else who had dealings with immigration while Mr Manderson was CIO you would probably see a dramatic change in attitude amongst the criminal fraternity.

      Come on Franz, you succeeded in making the Cayman Islands a hostile environment for ex-pats by allowing your officers to act like the Gestapo re-incarnated so why not do the same for the prisons?

  19. Scottish,Irish,Jamacian born CAYMANIAN says:

    “The chief officer of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs has said that “tough prisons do not makwhen inmates”
    …………”when inmates are incarcerated they should not be mistreated by the system itself ”

    WHY???? is it that “TOUGH” seemingly always are though tobe sonomous with “MISTREATMENT” (b n tough is NOT mistreating other)

    listen man!…. put that steal’n, kill’n, rape’n, dope sell’n piece of flesh to, work! work! work! work!…. every chance there is to make him or her WORK, make them W O R K ….. that will be punishment enough for some of those no work, no wan’ta work, society suck’n scum bags

  20. anonymous says:

    Well if we are to go by what Mr Manderson has to say, we might as well give them all a fine, (More money for government) and keep them on the streets. Mr Manderson you are implicating that these prisoners should be treated with “Kid gloves” I am sure, by comments, the Cayman population is not pleased to hear that.
    Have you ever had a brother sister or child mudered. Have you our your been held and robbed? Has you car been broken into and all your valuables taken? Has your home been broken into and all your treasured jewwellery for your family taken and you threatened? I did not think so. Mr Manderson, Northward Prison is a Prison, so pleas stop trying to turn it into a sunday school class.
    75 percent of the inmates are criminals and should not made to feel as if they are innocent little children.
    Do you visit the prison on a regular basis? The reason why prisoners is not escaping as often now is because the prison has made it more difficult for them to escape , but obviously that does not stop chickens from jumping the fence with Weed. Why should Cayman Government educate foreign prisoners? These prisoners shouldbe sent away somewhere away from our society, and serious crimes Caymanians prisoners needs to go with them. Why? Because they are committing crimes from prison. True Life Time stories on the streets of Cayman about NorthWard Prison, will make your hair grow. Mr Manderson, the truth is “That is not the job for you” and if a poll was done today, 95% of Cayman would say that. When Walsham conolly, and Derrick Ebanks ran that prison it was superior. Had a few escapes yes, but you people would not mend the fences properly. But I bet you that after a Foreign Director came, all fences were well secured and security put in place. Walsham and Derrick did a much better job of running that prison. Those that are heading up that prison will enjoy what they are doing, running a sunday school class teaching inmates how to make ice cream and salad. The public know exactly what I mean, and I am sure you do too.

    • Anonymous says:

      I heard of a radio talk show host in another Caribbean country who used to “big up” all the wrong doers and criminals and trash the police and the enforcement officials. Every day he would rave and rants about the right of prisoners and criminals even when it was obvious that the crimes were overwelmning. One night burglars went to his house and robbed him and shot him in the butts. Well he went into oblivion. He never broadcast on the program for long after that. The logic? The reality reached home to him. He had a real life experience of how it felt to be robbed in the nocturnal hours and shot. So all who who are “baby feeding” hardend criminal in this jurisdiction, when the tourists and the foreign investors stop coming to the Islands and the economy continues south, its then we are going to find out about fancy words by high officials and proponents of rehabilitation. fancy words and talks of human rights are nice sounding words. But research has shown that few hardened criminals ever reformed.It wont be long before they re-offend again. So Mr Manderson we will see how truthful your words will be in the future. Alas!!, when we finally learn our lessons it will be too late. our economy might be in shambles and the number of outlaws on our streets will have multiplied. We still have timeto call a spade ,a spade ,and a pail, a pail. Some lessons that men learned are never “unlearned” and we have to live with the consequences for our lifetime.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Maybe prisoners should given their basic right to work and repay society for their crime. Put them to work – cleanup the road sides and paint government buildings.

    Perhaps they will leave with a sense of accomplishment and even a bit of skill.

  22. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    I believe most people agree that it is not the "tough" issue, its the efficient issue. Drugs, TV, cell phones, throwing tings over the fence. With the money that is thrown away on useless projects, it would be nice to see a larger budget for the prison system. This would be important because Cayman is in the middle a crime crisis that won’t stop. Take away liberty but don’t give the inmates a better environment than they had on the outside. As a note I simply cannot understand why inmates can have cell phones. The inmates should also be working 8 hours a day, for a wage so they have some money when they are released. The systemalso needs a budget for jobs upon release. Part of the sentence would be 6 month release on parole with a mandatory job provided on the outside. I don’t care how much rehab you do, if you let them out and they have no money they will go back to crime.

    • Live Free... says:

      Lachlan, I agree with the part of putting the prisonersto work, and life should not be better for them in Prison as it is outside, but the part about paying them, I must disagree, and why do I? Is that their mentality would now change to, when we get out of Prison, and we commit crimes, we would just be put to work and make money while being there, and guess what they would do with the money they would make, they would just use it to maintain their bad habits. Given them money for the hard work in Prison, would not work, for they would just keep going back for more.

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

         Live Free…I hear you and it is frustrating. But IMHO if the prisoners worked 8 hours a day its could train them in a trade, they could get 1/2 min wage and not be able to touch the $ until release. Even if one out of ten went straight it would be worth it. And if you allowed 6 month parole release and they had to report for work at 8 and leave at 5 in a job program it would limit the time to get back to old habits. 

        • Live Free... says:


          Lachlan, I understand what you is saying, but when I refer to putting the Prisoners to work, it was more inline with punishment, than working for 8hrs with the hopes of developing a trade. Prison is for breaking criminals out of their bad habits, and their criminal mines, not by working like we do. That’s why I said that they shouldn’t get paid for the work they do, for the work is punishment. Once they straighten up their lives with some help of rehabilitation, and their behavior have improve greatly, and is removed from punishment, that is the time when they can now focus on finding a trade that they would like to do, and maybe then they can receive some form of a payout on their release, base on the fact that they work hard, and pass the course in the trade they so desire to perform when they are back into society, this trade however would have to be done within the Prison, your idea is a bit risky. And the punishment I am speaking of doesn’t have to be extreme, but enough to make them think twice, about returning to their old ways.


  23. Anonymous says:

    Has Franz actually visited Northward recently?

    All my contact with inmates and officers there seem to indicate it’s a very soft option, so easy that the prisoners can’t even be bothered to try and escape despite the fact it’s hardly maximum security.

    In fact you have to compare conditions in the prison with those under which Mr Manderson detained numerous Cuban refugees a few years ago. When I visited them there were over 40 people in one room with limited toilet facilities, no recreation, no access to lawyers or interpreters and no attempt being made to process them, as is required under international law, to determine if they qualified for refugee status.  

    A lot of what is being stated in this story may be right but it’s now being raised for all the wrong reasons – this is about political correctness not reform.

  24. IRON FIST says:

     Your opinion that states "loss of liberty is the punishment" would be great if it has proven to work as a deterrent to committing a crime or returning to crime. So far this has not worked. It is working great if the ones giving the time want to stay friends with the ones doing the time.But this is Grand Cayman islands where very little "works" the same as it does in a real country.  Cayman is learning the hard way why doing things that don’t work again and again is fool fool but still Caymans way.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Feed em more of that herb stuffed chicken???

  26. Anonymous says:

    In my opinion a majority of the prisoners are not in prison because they have had a rough life (ie no home, no bed etc), but because they wanted to take short cuts and get somewhere quick, or they got hooked with drugs. Yes, we can do counseling and rehabilitation for addicts etc, however, I challenge that the success rate will be very very low, just given the fact that this is such a small community and the prisoners will have a hard time to break away from the previous friends and habits etc.

    Instead of spending all the money on those who are already in prison, why not aim to spend some money on keeping some of them out to begin with. The Highschools are a nightmare – check and see what is going on there. That’s when you have to pull them aside and put them on the right track.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree mostly with 11:41 except that with some they will have to start them

      on the right track ”before” they reach high school to have a better success


  27. Anonymous says:

    Sure, Mr. Manderson “tough prisons don’t work”. Nor do the pussified versions we call Northward!

  28. Anonymous says:


    Has anyone seen the convicted murderers walking around on the outside of the prison, outside the fences?

    Is this tough?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thank God. Finally some sense, reason and compassion coming from those in charge.

    Franz and Kathryn are both intelligent people who understand that there are root causes for criminal and anti-social behaviour that must be addressed in order to change the negative behaviour patterns.

    If only we as a society had addressed the social ills that created this generation of offenders rather than sweeping problems under the rug and maintaining our hypocritical judgemental nature – we would likely not have the burgeoning crime problem that we do today.

    If anyone believes that being locked up is not punishment enough – I encourage them to try it for a day or two. Being separated from family,friends and watching your youth waste away day by day is a psychological torture in and of itself.

    If you think abusing people turns them into better people – think about this – most of the prisoners at Northward today have already lived lives of neglect, abuse and deprivation – this is what creates criminals, not cures them.

    And once they have paid their debt to society, they are released into a community that refuses to give them a 2nd chance! Ah boy – what a place and a people we are. So quick to kick someone down instead of giving them a helping hand.

    We must look at prevention and cure rather than merely vengeance and punishment. If we seek as a society to punish and harm – doesn’t that make us just as bad as those who steal, maim and kill?

    If we focus only on punishment, judgement and vengeance, we fall far short in our ideal of ourselves as a Christian country indeed.

    “A society’s greatness is measured by how it treats the least of its citizens.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

  30. Absurdistani says:

    RUBBISH!!!! This is a pitiful attempt to pander to the Human Rights agenda and in this case it has crossed the line of reason.

    We have all heard about sentences “with hard labour”? They are imposed for a reason.

    Contrary to the CO’s short sighted point, it’s not just about the removal of freedom. Prisoners should be sent to an institution for punishment unless you want to keep Northward full you should not want to return. I’m not advocating, mental or unusual punishment but X years of hard labour is a deterrent based on structure, work/productivity that benefits society and ultimately rehabilitates offenders. The minor inconvenience of loss of freedom is the least!

    I have heard people openly say “I’ll go to Northward for you” when they get angry and become physical with others. There is simply no fear of the prison in Cayman. And, yes, Some offenders do view it as a removal from society with no other consequences; much like an extended leave of absence.

    So, rather than X months in an institution smelling roses in the garden, sleeping until noon and then gabbing on a cell phone they need hard labour to instill a deterrent.

    With statements like this from a senior government official it remains “just another day in Absurdistan”.

    • Anonymous says:

      ABSURDISTANI at 10:32 ,I agree with you 200%. You Got it. Want to please the Human Rights Activists in the islands especially the so called “experts” from outside the Islands. Unfortunately, so many of our people are swayed by the polished speeches of these “Public Men and Women”.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, Manderson’s easy prison system doesn’t work either. I’ll bet his prison is the only one ever that let an inmate walk away and rape and kill a woman and then come back like nothing had happened. How he didn’t get fired for that one is beyond me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Franz Manderson was in charge of Immigration at the time of the horrible murder of Sabrina Schirn.

      Sabrina went missing Mar 11, 2009 and her body was found Mar 16, 2009.

      Franz Manderson did not take up his position as Deputy Chief Secretary with the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs until July 1, 2009.

      I fail to see how he should have been fired from a post for matters that took place prior to his appointment.

      • Rorschach says:

         While I agree that Mr. Manderson cannot be held accountable for something which happened BEFORE his appointment…I think the frustration was being expressed because NO ONE ELSE WAS either…

    • Anonymous says:

      it’s not our way 

  32. Anonymous says:

    Never thought that H.M.Northward was a tough prison. As recent headlines demonstrated its life as usual maybe even a little better for some of the inmates incarcerated there(dead chicken stuffed with ganga and sex and murder as that young lady found out). Things remain the same. But I am sure that some of those thugs that is out there raping our island will be glad to hear that the chief officer for the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs is championing their human rights.So that if and when(that’s a long shot)they are ever brought to justice they can head off to the spa for a few years. These headlines should sit well with the police and make their job a lot easier maybe the thugs will just give themselves up. Life on the inside provably is better than the conditions they are living on the outside. I don’t believe in the mistreatment of prisoners but h— Northward never ever crossed my mind as being nothing but a walk in the park. Cell phones,drugs and sex. So yeah CO you better go the soft way . Inmates running the asylum(revolving door). What about the rights of the victim of the crimes, who is championing them? I apologize, we are just here for them to feed on.

  33. Anonymous says:

    “The punishment is the loss of liberty. While inmates are incarcerated they should be given their basic rights.”

    The issue isn’t that the prison is being too tough. The issue is that inmates aren’t losing any liberties when they go Northward. Ganja, cell phones, and other drugs are making there way into the prison. Inside they don’t even have the fear that somebody who is outside has, they are already on the inside. They should have basic rights, but this does not mean they shouldn’t be housed behind enough wire to keep contraband out. Basic rights don’t mean that there should be any way to pass sim cards and ganja when visitors come in. Basic rights doesn’t mean that prisoners shouldn’t be having random security checks to ensure that unwelcomed items are not being hidden inside inmates cells.

    These people are inside prison because they tried to take the basic rights from other people. Either by hurting others, stealing from others, or selling things to others. The only basic rights they have is the basic right to food and shelter. Other than that, ensure they comply with the rules. By allowing ganja and cell phones, you are only perpetuating many of the problems they had on the outside. One of the great values of prison is seperating people from drugs and outside contacts. If the contacts aren’t broken, then they perps will definitely go right back to where they came from…..

  34. Anonymous says:

    To quote one of the world’s greatest authors “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons”.

    It is great to see someone of Mr Manderson’s stature speaking truth on this isue.

    There are too many people in positions of power and influence that wish to make the lives of prisoners miserable, well I would say look around at the countries nearby and ask yourself whether treating men like caged animals achieves anything? ask yourself whther it decreases the crime rate?

    The Honduras or Jamiaca model of prisoner treatment should be the last thing we move towards.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Who said we had to have the toughest jails?  The punishment is indeed meant to be the loss of liberty, yet we have to question that loss of liberty particularly in the light of the young lady that was murdered near there a while back.  And loss of liberty means they shouldn’t have such easy access to cellphones, ganja, sex and god knows what else they are currently getting in there.  A cruel regime will only encourage rebellion, so nobody is asking you to beat the prisoners to submission, but put them to good use and make them work their way  cook their own meals, do all the prison cleaning and laundry etc., as well as having further education programs as a reward for good behavior while incarcerated and we just might be getting somewhere….

  36. Anonymous says:

    Sure, life is a bed of roses.  Lets treat them with kid gloves…give me a break.  They committed a crime, yes you need to find out why, but nevertheless they committed a crime and should be punished for it.  Yes there are some people who will change, but there are others that won’t.  An example, once a rapist always a rapist, so Franz are you saying that they can be rehabilitated.  I believe maybe drug users can, they really do need help, murderers, rapists, no they will never change. 

    The country is in such a financial mess, why doesn’t the prison have the non violent offenders, do the road works like they do in the US?  The only thing though you do need is a proper force to watch them and yes the force does need to be armed.  This way they are learning on how to build roads, because our roads need constant care and they can be guaranteed a job by Government!!!!  You can’t expect employers outside of government to be the only entity in giving jobs to them, it goes both ways.  No where do I see anyone mentioning that government will place some of these prisoners when they get out of prison.  


    • Anonymous says:

      Well lets settle on something. Something we all can agree on. the current prison system is not working. How do you know this, simple because we have a large number of repeat offenders. They go in the first time and the experience does not deter them from committing crimes again.

      I noticed that someone also said that we all want a tough prison until our family end up there. I am of the philosophy that anyone commits crime betrays us all. Now that Cayman no longer has that clean crime free reputation it is important that we take control of this growing reputation especially in the light that we depend so much on tourism. And for the record if my family was in prison I would want it tough so that he/she can make the necessary changes to have a fruit-full life.

      • Anonymous says:

        For many years now the Public has been crying for a Half way housing facility. It is absoutely useless of locking these guys up and then sending them out in the Community in the same enviroment as before. After all they are human beings who dont have the resistanceto what they have been accustomed to for so long. Whether it is cigarettes rum ganja or cocaine it is very difficult to go back to the same friends and enviroment. On another note we have some very reformed Prisoners such as Lindell and Blanford also Manderson who in my opinion Mr Manderson that have long been ready to be r to be released. guess that Mr Bruce will be more than happy to return to his homeland. These guys were young when these incidents happened and if they can live outside of the prison for so many years then they are ready to go home. Jesus has forgiven all of us at times so why cant we forgive.I have watched the manner in which they behave and in my opinion they should be pardoned and let out. Very decent and respectful folks passing by the prison stop and talk with these guys. I also forgot to mention a very behaved lifer too I think his name is Mr Powell who is very helpful at the entrance . Sometime ago one of our Governors was intertaining the idea when some guy in the Community committed a murder and that put a monkey wrench into that idea. After all each individual is different and should not be fried in someone elses fat. I do hope that our present Governor will take up the idea.

        • anonymous says:

          I have read your comments very carefully 13:55, and where I do agree with some of what you have said, my concern is that these guys who have been in prison from the time they were young men, cannot cope with Cayman of today. When those crimes were committed by the men Cayman was a kettle of fish. Robberies, shootings, hold-up, bank heist and the such would be shock to everyone back then, Those crimes now have become a part of our every day life. Robberies and shootings today gets reponse like “So, thats a part of what we asked for, or Yep just another day”
          I cannot see those prisoners who have been in that prison for more than 30 years comming out and surviving.
          But, and I say but. If the Governor and counsil feel they are ready, then I would suggest, that before they send them out they make sure that they have them working out in the community for at least six months before they are released. This is to observe thier reaction to the new Cayman. Also Social department should give them free houseing for the six month, while they are outthere working for money. If this is not done they will want to go back to the only homethey know, the prison. There is one problem I find with Governments, and I say governments, meaning all who takes up the Government bench every four years. They dont listen to any Caymanian. They all think that they know it alland will only listen to foreign advice paying millions of dollars. When will we ever learn?, and be true to ourselves, only God knows..

          • Anonymous says:

            Those Prisoners are more aware of what is happening in the Community than most of us outsiders. They read and listen to the radio. They have been in there some of them in the twenty years and children in those days had good training and came from good back ground. For many years now they have been living outside of the prison and have conducted themselves in a very orderly fashion. They have earned the respect of the Public for this. For so long they have been in contact with the public and havent posed a problem. I feel with all my heart that they have been punished for their crime and is much repented and is ready to settle down and have a family. I take this opportunity to bey our GOVERNOR to look carefully into their situation. I heard that Mr Rattry and also Mr Donovan had also been looking into this. I realize that Mr Franz is a very intelligent man and can have a straight mind so I am hoping that he will seriously look into those guys situation. We were all young at one time and while we might not have done a serious crime but we surely made some very big mistakes. For those who might think that they are not punished enough just leave it to Jesus on his return, and he will take care of ALL of us sinners.That is his job. Jesus forgave the thief on the cross.