Prisoners post on Facebook

| 26/04/2013

inmate_0.jpg(CNS): Updated Monday — At least two prisoners currently serving time in HMP Northward, one of whom cannot be named because of an unrelated court order restricting media coverage on him, have managed to get access to a smartphone and the internet to post pictures on Facebook of themselves and fellow inmates in their jail cells. The pictures taken at HMP Northward on what is thought to be smartphone devices have been uploaded to the social media site this month, along with comments and general posts made by the prisoners within the last few weeks. One of the prisoners is showing a gang sign, while another appears to smoking a spliff (below). Local authorities admitted Friday that the pictures represent a systemic failure of security.

CNS cannot name one of the inmates or detail the serious offences which have landed him in jail because of the court order surrounding the prisoner. At this point we are also unable to link the Facebook page in question or show the incriminating pictures, as that could land this reporter in jail. However, there are several pictures on the page of the prisoner and his cell mate showing gang signs and tattoos and other pictures of semi-automatic weapons that have been photographed at some other location. A local television remote control in the picture indicates that they were taken in Cayman.

prisoner.JPGThe first pictures emerged in the public domain on Friday afternoon but since then more pictures have come to light and there are indications that several inmates, both remand and serving prisoners, appear to be using the social media pages regularly. John Miller, who is already convicted of a number of offences, posted a new profile picture on Thursday in his cell at Northward.

The Portfolio of Internal Affairs was quick to respond to the issue and the serious implications.

Eric Bush, the chief officer in the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, stated that cellular smartphone devises were not allowed in the secured areas of the prison but, as was highlighted in the recent report on the prison, there were a number of serious weaknesses in the local prison system, especially security.

“I can confirm that cellular phones and smartphone devises have been discovered and confiscated in the prison system over the last 18 months,” said Bush, who stated that he would be supply the exact figures in the near future.

“The picture in question shows a systemic failure of proper security measures but also a failure in adequate rehabilitation,” Bush added. “We have had a recent inspection by a prison security expert and he has identified a number of areas to improve on.”

The senior public servant explained that, in the wake of the inspection, which was funded by the Governor's Office, plans were in progress to implement the recommendations.  “These are all matters we are looking to address and will be the priority for the new prison director, who will be taking up post in early June,” Bush stated.

Other sources close to the prison told CNS that the prison system is currently seriously underfunded and the pressing need for prison reform in Cayman has been persistently neglected by local politicians. The problems facing the prison system, despite its best efforts to begin serious rehabilitation and the professionalization of the staff, is rarely spoken about by politicians. It has not featured at all on the campaign trail but will be an important issue for the next government to tackle.

Once the court order has been lifted following court hearings, which are expected to be dealt with in the coming weeks, CNS will post the other pictures in question, name the prisoner and the related offences.

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Category: Crime

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