CI high on world lock-up list

| 10/09/2013

(CNS): The Cayman Islands has one of the highest rates of prisoners per capita in the world, according to research from an international charity specialising in prison issues. According to the ranking by the International Centre for Prison Studies, Cayman comes in at number 20 on the worldlist out of 223 countries. This means authorities here are locking up more people per person in the population than some of the most violent places in the world. While the United States tops the chart in first position with a rating of 716, Cayman, with a rate of 382, is among 14 Caribbean and Central American countries that dominate the top 20. In the Caribbean listing Cayman comes in at number ten from the 23 ranked countries, above both Jamaica and Trinidad.

The Caribbean list is topped by St Kitts and Nevis with a rate of 714.

With an average of 212 inmates in the local prison system at a given time and a population of 55,500, the Cayman Islands was given a rate of 382 per 100,000. The rating and rank places Cayman above countries such as Honduras, Columbia, Nicaragua and Mexico, despite their greater crime levels. The UK, which has a rate of only 147, comes in at 104.

Despite having a very high rate generally for the overall population, when it came to locking people up on remand and before trial the Cayman Islands falls down the list to 149th, just one place above the UK. Although HMP Fairbanks has a very low number of female prisoners, on average females account for 5.2% of the local prison population placing, Cayman 81st in the world for locking up women. Given Cayman’s multi-cultural demographics, HMP Northward ranked 48th highest in the world for locking up foreign prisoners. But regardless of the well-documented overcrowding at HMP Northward, Cayman’s jail is still only the 93rd most packed jail house.

The World Prison Brief, launched in 2000, uses data specially compiled for ICPS to provide factual information about prison systems throughout the world, the charity states on its website.

Based in London, the ICPS, said the brief enables more evidence-based discussion of ways to improve prison systems in accordance with international human rights standards. Information is provided on prison populations and prison population rates per 100,000 of the national population, on the use of imprisonment for women and juveniles, on the extent of pre-trial imprisonment and on prison overcrowding, as well as a record of the national ministries responsible for prisons and contact details for prison administrations.

Information is updated on a monthly basis using data from reputable sources. The International Centre for Prison Studies said that it assists governments and other relevant agencies to develop appropriate policies on prisons and the use of imprisonment.

The organization notes however that a high rate is not always an indication that a particular government is locking up more people but that courts could be handing down longer sentences. With the courts in Cayman forced to hand down mandatory life sentences and the introduction of the ten year mandatory minimum sentence for unlicensed firearm possession, the average jail term has likely been lengthened significantly.

See world ranking here
See Caribbean ranking here

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Category: Crime

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It's Cayman culture. Listen to the talk shows or commenters on this blog. Make a law for this, pass a law for that, we need LAWS, LAWS and more laws! Of course you need people to enforce all these laws, so is it any wonder we have a bloated civil service and a police force 5-times the size of most developed countries. 

    Every law that is passed is an infringement on our freedom. I'm moving to Amsterdam where I can drive without having to wear my seat belt, drinking a beer, smoking a joint, picking up a hooker and waiving at the cop when I pass by. Now that is real freedom! 

    • R. U. Kidden says:

      "Every law that is passed is an infringement on our freedom."

      I think you exaggerate, unless you think your freedom allows you to shoot people or rape or rob, etc.  However, going to Amsterdam sounds like a good idea.  Good luck!

    • Anonymous says:

      Its a tendency for small island nations to have higher murder and prison rates.  That's what was said in a report I read a number of years ago when we were right behind #1(the US).  This story is old news, and has been for several years now.  Sit back and try and get a better perspective.

  2. Whodatis says:

    "CI High on Weed Lock-Up List"

    That would have been a fitting headline.

    It is an absolute shame and the greatest disservice ever, and continually, inflicted on the people of this country.

    We throw people in PRISON and stigmatize them for acts that garner nothing more than a mere confiscation in most other western countries.

    A truly sickening reality.

    However, so long as ignorant, "super Christian", anti-Jamaican, anti-Rasta, and narrow-minded idiots control our drug policies – nothing will change. (Yeah, I said it!!)

    Yet we say we care for our youths.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed with two of Whodatis' comments today.  Must be a good day:)

    • Anonymous says:

      2nd time this year I've agreed with you wholeheartedly.  Usually I don't, but props where they're due to you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Free the WEED!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Considering the number of people walking around, and sometimes hiding, who should be locked up then we should be much higher than number 20.

    • Anonymous says:

      People are obviously reaching the wrong conclusions about these statistics and believe that they are more meaningful than they really are. Obviously there are many people in other countries who are guilty of crimes who have not been apprehended as well and it is therefore pointless to suggest that that factor means Cayman should be higher on the list. In any event, in a list in which the U.S.A. is at #1, Jamaica is at 88, Honduras at 98 and Nigeria is at 223 it obviously does not mean that the lower you are on the list the better off you are crime-wise. What it may mean, at least in part, is that persons are imprisoned here for offences, such as smoking marijuana, which would not attract custodial sentences in many countries.    

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine the number of inmates if those responsible for the crime were caught and imprisoned?  The drug dealers, armed robbers, murderers, just to name a few, Northward isn't big enough.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It's cuz the criminals love going to that 5 star hotel we have in Northward! They get all their squared meals, bills are non existent, hot showers, a comfy bed, baby mama's come see them and sneak a lil nookie on the side, they can smoke the herb and escape when they feel like. Being in prison here sounds better than living on the outside to many.

  7. Senior says:

    Of course, we are becoming a police state… they need to get rid of locking juveniles up for two years because they had a small parcel of weed. That is rediculous!


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree.  They should takethe same approach as the UK.  Below a certain amount its confiscated and you can go on your way without charge or criminal record.  Over a certain amount and you're asking for jailtime baby.  Our current approach to Marijuana is totally unwarranted and a complete waste of government resources, which would be better directed at the coke dealers who are causing irreperable damage to the islands.  I also read once in the Cayman New Resident (I think it was the 2006 issue) that while the potential jail time was the same, the fine for coke was less than if you got caught with marijuana.  I had to read it twice to be sure I wasn't imagining things.  I don't know whether that is correct info or not, but if it is correct, what kind of message does that send out to the community?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Read this two weeks ago and was appalled but not surprized. What was surprizing was the number of Caribbean and regional territories that are included on the list. Just another form of colonial control.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pardon me for asking, but let's get real here. How does Cayman's percentage of foreign inmates compare to that of other countries?

    • Diogenes says:

      Interesting question.  According to ESO, at the 2012 census  43 out of 183 prisoners were non Caymanians – far higher than the popular belief that its around 10%.  The study doesnt have a comparison, but you would have to think that's a far higher percentage than most countries.

      Unfortunately, if you recompute the national imprisonment rates per 100,000 only using Caymanians – per ESO, 32,201 Caymanians, 140 prisoners – you end up with an imprisonment rate of 1 per 434 – we then move to 12th place instead of 20 if we simply ignore the foreigners (or put it another way, the impriosnment rate for foreigners – about 175 per 100 thousand  using ESO statistics – is way lower than our domestic rate).  The high proportion of foreign prisoners is down to the proportion of foreigners in the total population, not their relative criminality (in percentage terms).      

      • Anonymous says:

        However, the ESO and the prison seem to count persons who have Cayman Passports as Caymanian, when many are not. Lots of people recorded as Caymanian are actually of other nationalities.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh yes, it's true. Caymanians don't commit very many crimes at all. Only the evil expats that sneak in her using falsified passports and falsified CVs do.  And by the way, the purple unicorn in George Town says he likes to eat fresh corn on sunny days.

          • Anonymous says:

            The poster is making a legitimate point. Stop trying to create straw men in order to deflect.

          • Anonymous says:

            Go talk to the Pines, UCCI, Solomon Harris, the Lonestar and the Estella Roberts foundation, and tell them substantial numbers of expats do not commit crimes! We have a criminality problem which includes a surprisingly large number of foreigners (as well as Caymanians)!

            • Anonymous says:

              That's a good point, butjust go look at the court schedule on any given week and you'll likely find a Caymanian who's been accused of stealing from his/her employer, and the number of Caymanian women who do this is truly shocking. The amounts tend to be less, though in some cases still very substantial. However, they aren't has high profile as the white collar expat criminals.

              And that's the big difference. There are quite a few white collar expat thiefs, but the vast majority of violent/burglary crimes are committed by Caymanians or Status Caymanians from certain countries. 

              Given that the majority of the population in Cayman is either an expat or a Caymanian with Status, you would expect a corresponding number of expats to be in the prison, but that's not the case. It's true that many expat criminals are simply deported, but that's not the case with violent crimes.

              Bottom line is there are bad people of low moral character in every society and yes, Cayman imports some criminals – and makes criminals out of others because of the opportunity to commit crimes without punishment from an inept police force. Good, honest people of every nationality need to stand up against crime or Cayman will eventually be lost to the criminals.

              • Anonymous says:

                Fine, but if the law requires status recipients who get convicted have it stripped from them and deported, why does it NEVER happen?

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you mean they count status holders as Caymanian even though they have a non-British nationality of origin.      

          • Anonymous says:

            No. I mean what I say. They do not possess the Right to be Caymanian (formerly known as Caymanian Status) and so are not Caymanian. Their nationality is irrelevant.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, status holders are Caymanian. That is what makes a Caymanian a Caymanian, not a passport.

            • Anonymous says:

              Try running for office on the basis and you will find out how Caymanian you are with your status.

      • Anonymous says:

        The study does have a comparison… Seriously, did you guys not read the whole article?

        "Given Cayman’s multi-cultural demographics, HMP Northward ranked 48th highest in the world for locking up foreign prisoners."

    • Anonymous says:

      They won't tell you that because the true answer (particularly if you consider nationality of origin) will shock you and demonstrate the total failure of their border control laws and policies.

      • Anonymous says:

        Umm… did you not read the whole story?

        "Given Cayman’s multi-cultural demographics, HMP Northward ranked 48th highest in the world for locking up foreign prisoners."

        • Anonymous says:

          It is almost certainly in the top ten. They do not understand who is a Caymanian from who is not given the complications that arise from our colonial status. They are assuming that persons born here, or awarded status as a chilld, or having a BOTC passport, are automatically Caymanian. They are not.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not a failure. It is corruption.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That is because they waste their time locking up persons for consumption of ganja. Its time to just fine these people if you are even going to bother with them. Unless they are dealing drugs or commiting drug related crimes like stealing to support their habit then just leave those who want to consume alone and not waste government time and money with incarcerating them. They are harmless.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't smoke…but Legalize It!!!

    • Diogenes says:

      Again, actually reading the statistics makes for interesting findings in the face of popular perceptions.  There are many posters here blaming the incarceration rate on "trivial" drugs offences, specifically ganga possession.  Yet the ESO compendium indicates that of 1208 criminal cases resolved by the RCIPS in 2012 – which would include not only convictions involving imprisonment but other resolutions, only 94 involved drugs (including "hard" drugs) – less than 10%. Numbers are similar as far back as 2010.  On the other hand, the number of resolved crimes involving theft and burglary was 496 – or 41%- and assualt and offences against the person 317 – 26%.

      The statistics simply do not support the apparently popular belief.   By all means argue that they are "wasting their time locking up people for stealing or attacking people", or that the conviction statistics are clouded by the drug takers committing the assualts and robberies – but neither is going to get much of a sympathy vote.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Locking them up, it would seem we are brilliant at. I wonder what position we would be in for keeping them locked up?

    I also wonder about our solved crime rates, for whilst there have been some minor successes recently, home invasions and robberies seem to be out of control..


  12. Kumbayah says:

    Isn’t it strange that in this land of so many churches there are so many who cannot be saved?

    • Senior says:

      You can be locked up and saved. Just like you can be arrested and innocent of doing any moral wrong. I think you need to see the light.

    • Anonymous says:
      It's not a matter of people being saved, it's a matter of a corrupt system which exists throughout the world. Saving people isn't going to change anything, 
      as long as there's a 'justice system', they will always find a reason to accuse 
      someone of commiting a 'crime' and passing judgement on others. As far as I'm 
      concerned, the only one allowed to pass judgement on others is God…and last I 
      checked, a lot of the rules and laws, including the crimes possible to commit by 
      law, were not in the bible, but created by man, who needed to find reason to 
      remove a person's true freedom upon this earth. They say money is the root of 
      all evil, and I can completely agree with that, as ever since the illusion of 
      money was created for mankind, all went downhill.
      Think about it, animals don't use they have jails and criminals? 
      NO, simply because they live with nature, as God intended for all of us.
      The monetary life we live is the true crime, yet we are forced to believe 
      that it is what's needed for survival. Sadly enough, in this day and age, it 
      definitely is. As human kind has basically outsourced the natural resourses we 
      were provided with.
      Is 'civilization' truly civilized?
      • Anonymous says:

        Your logic is as wrong as your bible quote. Money is NOT the root of all evil. The love of money is the root of all evil. Big difference. And – if you think living like animals is a good idea you should be very happy tht Cayman seems to be right on track for that outcome.

  13. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    This is because we run a US style war on drugs. A total failure of course. But total failure has never stopped any government anywhere from continuing a bad policy.

    And on and on it goes.