No cash to man prison CCTV

| 02/09/2013

(CNS): Although HMP Northward is equipped with a number of CCTV cameras, one of which recorded the recent jail-break there is not enough money for the cameras to be watched continuously. Ministry officials have said that the prison CCTV, like the national system, is monitored passively because it would require dozens more staff at the prison to implement a policy of having officers view the cameras constantly in real time. Eric Bush, chief officer in the Home Affairs Ministry, confirmed that the CCTV did capture the three men as they made their escape using tools to cut through the two perimeter fences, but without anyone watching that camera at the time, the inmates were able to get away.

While Steve Manderson (44) and Chadwick Dale (22) have both been recaptured since they made their bid for freedom on the evening of 15 August, Marcus Manderson, Steve’s son, remained on the run Monday.

Officials have repeatedly pointed to the inadequacies in security at the prison as the facility is in dire need of improvements and simply not designed for high security inmates. The prison's problems have been well documented over the years and most recently in a damning report by the UK’s prison inspectorate.

However, with scarce resources and budget cuts, the prison is still not able to fully utilize the security tools it has because of the man power that would be required.

Bush told CNS that to monitor the prison CCTV system in real time would require a significant and unaffordable increase in employees.

“The cost of actively monitoring a large system properly, like in the prison service or the national CCTV system, would not provide value for money to the public,” he said. “In our estimation, one person can actively monitor a maximum of eight screens for a period of time, properly and effectively. If we were to have 80 camera images actively monitored, we would need 10 staff monitoring the screen 24/7. It takes about 5½ persons to adequately cover one 24/7/365 role. This means for the prisons system alone, I would have to have 55 additional staff, just to monitor the CCTV system. At a cost of say $35K per person, per annum, this would cost almost $2M per year. This would not be justifiable in my view,” Bush added.

Prison officials are hoping for an increase in the new budget, which is expected to be delivered later this month to cover the cost of improving the fence that currently surrounds the men’s prison. Although the perimeter fence is tall and topped with razor wire, it can be cut open, as was the case in the recent break out.

While Steve Manderson has managed to escape six times, break outs from the jail are not that common. In this case, despite serving a life sentence on a murder conviction and his record for getting out, Manderson had been categorized as a C prisoner as it had been some nine years since his last break out. Because the men were not in the high security unit at the time, they were able to take advantage of their status and escape with the help of another prisoner.

Although Manderson and Dale are now in the high risk unit at the prison, neither man has yet been charged with the jail break. Escaping brings an additional custodial sentence, which will impact Dale, who was sentenced to six years for a violent robbery on a woman on Seven Mile Bach and assault. But with a life sentence, Manderson will be looking at a loss of privileges and an increase in his category. Although he has served more than twenty years, no minimum tariff has been handed down for any of those serving life sentences in the wake of the implementation of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, at this point, Manderson is not eligible for parole.

His son, Marcus Manderson, was handed a mandatory minimum ten year sentence after he was convicted by a jury of possession of an unlicensed firearm, when they found that the modified flare gun he was in possession of was capable of firing bullets that could maim or kill.

While police have urged the younger Manderson to give himself up, as he is understood to be living rough, he has remained on the run alone since his father was recaptured four days ago.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ah… employ CS staff to watch things….sorry miseed the escape because I was…

    A ) on a long lunch hour

    B ) too busy on my BlackBerry BBming my friends

    C) off sick

    D) it happened on the weekend when I wont work


    People of Cayman pick the correct answer…

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't think itmismfar just to blame Mr. E. Bush. There are several others,involved in this, including the dept Gov Mr. Manderson. In fact I don't blame any of them for not having the funds. I blame the past MLAs, UDP and PPM for all their over spendings on other useless stuff. The prison for years has been under funded and has been neglected by past Governemts. So give Eric a break.

    there is probably several ways we can raise the funds. I have read some good ideas below. 

    Lets see all the thumbs down now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Put the cameras on the internet and we the people will monitor them. It's bound to be more exciting than what's on local TV.

  4. Maiden Plum says:

    That is the biggest pile of festering domkey poo i have ever heard.  Can't afford it??  BS

  5. Anonymous says:

    Broadcast the cameras live on the internet! We'll keep an eye on them for ya.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Stream the cameras on the Internet. Let everyone watch and call in if they see something.

    Can't think of a single reason for not doing so.

  7. Donny Buffoonery says:

    If the previous director andhis underlings along with his previous boss (Mr Re tired) had been held accountable for their actions XXXX which included that monstrosity waterfall that looks like a big pile of pink doo doo at the front of the prison which is rumored to have cost over 100k the prison wouldn't be in this mess but alas the golden handshake is once again handed out to members of the old byes network! for their stellar efforts in fleecing our government! Here's to Second chances

  8. Anonymous says:

    I can think of $10 million a year that would be freed up if the turtle farm shut down

  9. Sinbad says:

    Just install an electronic fence and stop pushing funds in Bostock's coffers! With a masters degree thought a little common sense would prevail?

    • Anonymous says:

      And as the old saying goes the rich get richer and the poor get poorer….XXXX LOL.  Just look at Immigration and the new glass house, security there but no tender requested….

  10. Failed math says:

    Mr. Bush,

    10 staff at $35,000 each is $350,000 x 3 shifts = $1,050,000 per year.  This is a minimal investment to run the system you sold us!?!

    You can also train up community volunteers to monitor the CCTV and if they "see anything" thet can alert one of the 400+ police officers (someone has to be working the night shift?)

    Manpower is NOT the issue.  Effective managment of manpower resources is.  Your excuses fall flat and you and Mr. Bostock should have told the country that you were selling them a bunch of electronics that were only good for taping crimes, not preventing them.

    You have been found wanting on this one.

    • Anonymous says:

      When I see the amount of police just driving around chilling out!  It's bloody ridiculous!

    • Anonymous says:

      09/02/2013 – 16:17

      Excellent observations by the above writer. Allow me to make this one observation. "Mr. Bush told CNS that to monitor the prison CCTV system in real time would require a significant and unaffordable increase in employees." Am I to understand that Mr. Bush sold us a system with no consideration for real time monitoring? This is unbelievable and the whole thing should be investigated. Furthermore, XXXXX Please God help us all!

  11. Anonymous says:

    if its wireless via internett?then  link it to 911 .thought prison security  was 24 hours duty.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why do dozens need to be employed to watch the monitors?  Aren't they in one room?  If you consider an 8 hour I would have thought maybe 6 which would provide coverage for vacation/sick.

  13. Rusty says:

    So in a nut shell you are saying mr bush no citizen is safe if these convicted criminals decide to break out? Why wasn't this part of the deal when millions were being negotiated with the contractor for the CCTV program. All i keep hearing is excuses at the detriment of this country's pocket!!! Time for someone to call an independent audit of this CCTV fiasco!

  14. Anonymous says:

    When anything bigger than a ching ching goes past my garage, a sensor turns the outside light on. It cost less than $100.00 – installed!

    It could just as easily be connected to an alarm – after all, there shouldn't be an movement "between" fences.  

    The same technology is readily available for cameras and is not expensive – just aim it down the "dead" space.

    Failing that, just confiscate all the Pit Bulls on the Island (you know, those dogs it has been illegal to own or breed in the Cayman Islands for 25 years and are now more prolific than ever) and give them the run of the gap between fences. "Crocodiles in the moat" have worked for centuries. 


  15. Anonymous says:

    Add it to rcip monitor crew if they’re already being paid to watch the other rest if cctv on the island! Also don’t forget to add a cctv in Cayman Brac! They also been crime taking place there as well!


  16. Anonymous says:

    The million dollar question is, "Why install hi-tech cameras and other gadgets that cost the tax payers ten's of thousand's of dollars when there is no staff to actively monitor them in the first instance" ??

    Government has got STOP this S – – – and operate itself like a productive and well regulated "private sector business". Stop buying equipment on the advice of greedy people who tell you it's a good idea to have one of them/ these in your government department or ministry, only to suck the tax payers money and laugh at you like a fool, all the way to the bank.


  17. Anonymous says:

    I wonder……… if an analysis of current prison staff's duties might produce noticable gaps in their schedules whereby monitoring of the CCTV could be augmented.   There.  That was nicely put wasn't it?     Just looking at other gov tasks and duties from the outside, it seems the norm rather than an exception that there is ample opportunity for resource and time restructuring. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    i know 4 people ( caymanians ) who would GLADLY sit there and watch the cameras 8 hours a day for 8 bucks an hour 

    is that more costly then a 2 week search for escaped prisoner and the constant drug courts they have to do after the stuff is thrown over the fence  ??????????????

    i dont think so !!


    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the comment. I hadn't thought of the cost-vs-cost angle.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It is difficult to understand why no one is watching the fences at night either on CCTV or with their eyes. It is not convincing that a lot of people are required that they don't have. Are there no guards at night? If there are, what exactly are they doing if they are not watching things?

  20. Anonymous says:

    That's a nice horse dead and cow fat story from Eric. The technology exists, and has been around for many years before the cameras were placed in Northward, for cameras to set off an alarm when movement is detected. Hell, that technology is deployed in even the cheapest home security system that you can purchase off the shelf.

    Why doesn't the prison train cameras along the perimiter walls that will set off alarms whenever movement is detected? This could easily detect goods being thrown over the fence as well.

    I'm sure if he called in one of the local security companies they could give him advice on how to do this without hiring 55 more people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some 0f the security companies perhaps. But the one government security company would offer to provide the manpower. On contract.

  21. Hoping for better days says:

    They should not be able to touch any of the perimeters without being shocked. We have made it too easy for these men to escape.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Instead of all the bits and pieces, why not have a proper inquiry into the matter, we are hearing a lot of things on the road. When Caymanians were dismissed after a major escape ,there was an inquiry, why not now. We the public need to know. We have a major escape and nothing.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Did the Ministry responsible for the prison not look at the on-going need to monitoring the cameras before they purchased the system that is currently in place? I installed a system at my house that uses motion detection and it automatically sends me e-mail alerts that include pictures of whatever caused the alerts. While this system is not perfect is was cost effective and has eliminated the need for 24/7 monitoring. I would think that a combination of motion detection cameras and K-9 officers should be able to prevent any future escape.

  24. Cayman Starfish says:

    You absolutely right because every "Freaking" dime has been handed over to this enormous Money Pit called the RCIPS

    • Anonymous says:

      If you're going to have a Prison System, then it MUST be managed and operated to maximum security at all times!  No exceptions to this.  My question would be, why have a prison if it cannot have security 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week?  Anything less than this is unacceptable and the person or persons in-charge must be held responsible otherwise fired from their job!!! 

  25. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see 2m to secure the containment of these people plus have eyes on them. But I doubt there are 80 cameras watching the perimeter. On another note a prison and this is just spitballing here normally has either manned watched towers or guards patrolling the fences. This too cost money. If either of these them ngs wrre done escape would he almost impossible. What is being asked foor is a wall that will compensate for the poor running and work product of this Prison and those charged to run it. Spare as the double babble as it is inexcusable. Noone is faulting anyone just because thw inmates ran away it is because the inmates run the asylum and the ease of which they did run off. The constant exuse and it is just an exuse is we need more money

  26. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps we should dedicate capt whogene's and you know who's salary to a worthy cause?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or just send them up there to monitor the cameras – at least we will be getting something for our money

  27. Anonymous says:

    Suggestion – install software that sets up virtual fence and will sound an alarm if the virtual fence is breached.  That way no one has to monitor it, but an alarm will sound if someone attempts to escape and can be captured before the second fence is breached.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is a joke, right? Money being spent in the wrong places..

  29. I Observe... says:

    This is absolute foolishness.

    Why wasn't that budgeted for when they were being installed?!?

    • Agree says:

      Eric. Your reasoning and statements are full of holes.  Now give us a workable solution!  We should all pull our business from Bostock too- we were played on this deal