Prison failing to control drugs

| 15/02/2013

Prison entrance.JPG(CNS): Despite claims by authorities that prison officials make every effort to control drug use at HMP Northward and are constantly trying to intercept smugglers, the recent damning report from the UK’s prison inspectorate paints a different picture. Describing “high levels of drugs” in Northward and a pervasive “smell of cannabis throughout the establishment”, the inspectors said the prison took no action to prevent the ingress of drugs. The report described a small security team of two officers regularly redeployed to other duties with no targeted drug testing of prisoners. What testing was carried out showed 28% of Northward inmates using drugs but there is no clinical treatment for prisoners with substance misuse issues.

While prison management and representatives have always insisted that the battle with drugs in Northward is an ongoing challenge faced by all prisons around the world, the inspectors pointed to a complete lack of effort to do anything about the significant amount of ganja that finds its way into the prison.

Following an inside view of the prison and the drug use published on CNS last year, in which a former inmate related his experiences at Northward, prison officials said there was “no tolerance for contraband found within Cayman's prisons."

Eric Bush, chief officer of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, said prison officers were on “constant watch” and worked “relentlessly to prevent such contraband from entering”. Three months before the inspectorate came to the prison and confirmed the revelations of the CNS source, Bush had denied that officers were complacent or lax about prisoner drug use and claimed searches were carried out on a daily basis and inmates had been both tested and charged.

However,the UK inspectorate raised many concerns about how drug use in the prison was being handled. The team pointed to a failure to liaise with the local police other than getting them to dispose of drugs found in the prison and the lack of intelligence gathering by officers relating to drug use in the prison, who did little about its consumption.

The report described the mandatory drug testing facilities as poor and not sufficiently clinical, being carried out in the women’s toilets at both sites. On-site urine analysis testing was carried out for cannabis and cocaine, although almost entirely for parole or compliance reasons. Testing equipment was inappropriately stored along with staff food items. In spite of the high positive drug testing rate, the common knowledge of regular drug use and the anecdotal knowledge of high-profile prisoners within the drug culture, there was no prison specific drug strategy or even a programme of target testing.

“There was no immediate or on-going clinical treatment for prisoners with substance misuse issues arriving at either Northward or Fairbanks,” the report found. “In our survey, 24% of men had had a problem with drugs and 13% with alcohol on arrival at Northward, and a further 13% said that they had developed a problem with illegal drugs while at the establishment. In spite of these statistics, there was no provision for prisoners with drug or alcohol misuse issues to receive immediate, safe, effective and individualised clinical treatment.”

Consultant psychiatrists estimated the percentage of patients on their community caseload with mental health and substance misuse issues to be around half but there were no similar estimates for the prison population. The national anti-drug strategy described as a ‘master plan’ to prevent illicit drug use and treat those dependent has no specific targets and does not address the prison issues, the inspectors found.

Related article on CNS: Drugs rule local jail

See report below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Guys relax. The ganja keeps the inmates docile and relaxed. Not a good thing they have access to it but it does have a security benefit …seriously.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If government cannot keep drugs from entering the small area that it directly control, then how it be remotely possible for it to keep drugs from entering the country?

    Start by investigating all those in charge of screening deliveries to the prison and then prosecute and fire  those who are not doing their duty.

  3. Anonymous says:

    another great day for the civil service…..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Folks. You have to realise a little ganja keeps the inmates mellow. They become a lot easier to manage that way. It’s not really an oversight. It’s is inmate control.

  5. Eye Opena says:

    Well I just had a smoke. Yes, I smoke my draw….but I don’t drink! Yet, the majority of people who go around shunning the use of ganja are probably chillin a case of alcoholic beverages in their cooler because it’s legal! Alcohol is worst than any other so called drug out there. And as far as am concerned, there has yet to be a report that states ganja is worst than alcohol. Give it a break people. I say government needs to put a control in place that allows a person the right to a certain amount in PRIVATE, however if they are found in public using, then arrest them and fine them without a record, right there in the jail house. If they fail to meet the bail bond amount of say, $300 1st offense, $600 2nd….. then jail ’em! Trust me not only is it a fairly expensive lesson but also means that government will get some money real quick! Cuz nobody with good sense will want a police record for not paying up $300! They would call all their people real quick, for a loaner, guaranteed!

    The prison is over run with ganja charges, which means long serving prisoners of REAL crimes, are realeased early to make room! They need to prioritize what constitutes as CRIME around here, I would say drug running of hard drugs, primarily supported by wealth, is one that they want to keep dealing with! Because ain’t no way there are enough homeless “crackheads” out there buying up that amount! Cuz boy the stories I have heard of the wealthy parties that happen around here, the white lady is BOSS! So just goes to say, weed naw d problem mon, man-made drugs are (including “legal” alcohol)!

    Don’t do drugs people! Keep it nature made! (smile)

  6. Anonymous says:

     HMP Northward under Eric Smith's Directorship was a well oiled machine. Whats the sense in training people to do a job then retiring them early while they are still able to make a meaningful contribution? This is a very pointless and unproductive policy that any new government must look at. Years of hands on experience in any professional field of service or expertise should never be taken lightly, especially when we pay top dollar to bring in consultants to review our failed systems and tell us what we could have hired someone locally to do. This amounts to throwng good money away  and out of the local economy. Where is the common sense in such a practice? Utilize our local expertise now or else we will start a brain drain instead of buiding national intellectual property which is the greatest resource of any nation. 

    • Anonymous says:

      12:23 pleaseeeee! XXXX LOL! you are so funny….The prison has never had proper management.  Each successor is worse than the last starting with Eric Smith's management. LMFAO!!!!!!!!!

      • AnonymousDoug says:

        HMP Northward under the leadership of Sir. Eric Smith, was managed like never before.   He had leadership skills, and still does.He was a very good director.He was Forced into retirement, not because he couldn't manage, but because they wanted an english MAN to manage. What they did to Mr. Smith was unforgivable.  Now years later the prison is no better than before. Prisoners are escaping like rice grains. WHAT GOES AROUND ALWAYS COMES BACK  AROUND!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Take away the drugs and you will have a war on your hands.

    Leave it, and legallize weed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hell, just legalize everything and voila…. No prison

    • Anonymous says:

      And there would be war because……?….it’s addictive.

    • anon. says:

      I am hearing from an eye witness that on Friday, the prisoners that were trying to "escape" from a transport van were in fact, in a hot van for over 30 minutes. They were rocking the van, people very laughing at them, thinking it was all "pranks". Someone said, "Stay calm, we are trying to find a key".  The men started to panic, and a male was observed to be in serious distress, sweating and pale, who was given medical assistance. AND she does not believe from her observation, that the engine was running.

    • anonymous says:

      Zero rehabilitation. These sons, daughters, fathers are only getting worse, no hope, no programs. They smoke week all day and bully the weaker. Those that went in with a hope to pay their debt and earn a second chance find nothing. No courses, no counselling, nothing. It's a human rights issue. Cell phones, x boxes, weed and cigarettes. Thats what the jail offers.

  8. anonymous says:

    Why are rolling papers on the approved list of "hand ins" at the prison?

  9. Anonymous says:

    News headline:
    Cayman Islands Government fails to do anything.

    • anon. says:

      Prison is under control of the UK.

      • Anonymous says:

        And yet almost all the management and guards are Jamaican.

      • Anonymous says:

        If that is the case, let it be staffed and managed by UK Prison officers.

        No family ties, indifference to threats, more exposure to available rehabilitation practises and nobody is unbeholden to anyone.

        In return, anyone sentenced to four years or more in the Cayman Islands should serve out their sentence in any jail in the United Kingdom.

        The Cayman Islands Government should cover the cost for the incarceration, which may actually be cheaper than keeping them in HMP Northward.

        • Voter in GT says:

          I could not agree more.  We need to discourage our locals from prison and one way of doing that is moving them from their girlfriends and family.  Mix with the UK prison population and ooooh, not so attractive anymore eh?  

          Regional prisons or UK…lets get more bang for our buck and close down the local facility.

  10. Anonymous says:

    And yet we keep granting status to the guards in recognition of their valiant contributions to Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      what a shame and a disgrace!! boy we are fool!! we refuse to hire cymnaians and then give away citizenship to guards who are apid to do a job that they obviously are not doing. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a disgrace!

  12. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the K9 Unit that was brought in I think two years ago, wasn't a few of those dogs Drug Detection Dogs????? Wasn't the prison given one…another thing to add to "wasted money"!!!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    It's supposed to be a PRISON for God's sake. They are just like their employers CORRUPT!

    Jackie Haynes, Winston Connolly and Roy McTaggart, would you mind just telling us what you would do? Other than remain silent, just like all the other wimps. Seriously this silence from these so-called "people of integrity" "planning to stand" is scaring me to death.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Put that woman from the Post Office in charge for a few years. She might not be able to completely stop the flow of drugs, but she could sure slow it down.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anything thrown over the fence without a Postal Code is going right back where it came from. LOL.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Do the prison have a sniffer dog and handler that could do daily sniffs of the entire place?????? Including the offices…

  16. Anonymous says:

    What ever happen to that CHAIR that the UK donated to find durgs on people visiting?


  17. Anonymous says:

    Accountability is non-existent in the civil service.

  18. Anonymous says:

    How about some reverse thinking here?

    1. Legalise ganja in small doses

    2. Make Northward the official government sales point (they seem to have a lot of expertise there).

    3. Use the revenues to rebuild the prisons as the report says and subsequently to fund other CIG activities and debts.

    4. Long imprisonment for anyone not using the official system

    I am not a user and never have been, however it strikes me that we are never going to stop the use, so might as well legalise it, control it, make it safer, cut the legs out from under the drug runners, and make revenue from it.

    • anon. says:

      This is all about "turn a blind eye." Weed saps ambition. Weed is ignored until a prisoner complains or steps out of line. Then, a test, punishment and a month or two tacked on. These re human beings,not sea turtles or dogs at the humane society. Is it punishment or rehabilitation? Cell phones and weed. If you don't have it, you are a nobody up in there. Boys getting their face sliced when they nap? Those that have a sincere plan to help themselves don't stand a chance.