UK expert advises on human rights and parole

| 27/11/2013

(CNS): Representatives from the relevant government agencies took part in a two-day workshop last week on the issue of how the Bill of Rights impacts parole decisions and the early release of prisoners. The training comes at a time when government has drafted a new Conditional Release Law. The proposed new legislation will replace the current parole system and usher in a much tougher and harsher regime to reduce the high re-offending rates in the Cayman Islands. It is hoped that the law would result in lower risks to the community and better prepare prisoners for release through rehabilitation and re-entry schemes.

Natalya O’Prey, Head of Member Development and Practice at the England and Wales Parole Board,conducted the workshop on how human rights affect the parole system, specific rights that affect parole and the licensed conditions imposed, such as personal liberty, movement, fair trial and private and family life.

It was organized by the Office of the Deputy Governor in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and attended by representatives from the Governor’s and Deputy Governor’s Offices, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Community Rehabilitation, the Prison Service, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Immigration Department, the National Workplace Development Agency, the Department of Counseling and the Cayman Islands Parole Board including chair Deborah Ebanks and the members Twyla Escalante, Pastor Alson Ebanks, Marilyn Conolly and Dwene Ebanks.

“It was exciting to see the interaction of agencies and I was impressed with the excellent practices and procedures in place and the desire of all participants to address problems,” said O’Prey. “The Cayman Islands officials are striving to ensure that parole hearings and decisions are fair and proportionate and do not compromise human rights.

“While there are very similar human rights issues in different jurisdictions, the Cayman Islands is a very sophisticated country and is already adhering to most of the recommended principles, which permeate the justice system. It would therefore not take a big shift in operations to achieve the desired results,” she added.

Achieving the balance of natural justice is not always easy, the expert stated, for there are many considerations that have to be taken into account relating to the victims, the offenders, as well as the issue of public protection. However risk to the community is the paramount consideration.

Apart from the human rights concerns, the workshop participants heard about the provisions of the draft Conditional Release Law being sponsored by the Deputy Governor’s Office. Government has agreed to bring in new legislation shortly, which is called the Conditional Release Law, to replace the current parole system. Conditional Release is a much tougher and harsher regime that is planned to reduce the high re-offending rates in the Cayman Islands and will result in lower risks to the community; it will also prepare the prisoner for release through rehabilitation and re-entry schemes.

In her previous role as Deputy Head of Litigations, O'Prey dealt with litigation against the board, including judicial reviews, damages claims and other civil proceedings. She previously spent 18 years in the courts service, and since 2011 has been closely involved in supporting parole activities in the overseas territories.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The escalating local crime problem is getting out od hand.  These miscreants need to be locked up for longer.

  2. Anonymously says:

    Please once a non Caymanian is arrested get them out of here like they use to do a few years ago, revoke their status and send them packing.  Like they do in the USA keep them away even if they are not given a custodial sentence, away from the country for 10 or more years.  

    • Anonymous says:

      16:05. You really do represent the brainless part of Caymanian society, don't you? I quote: "Once a non Caymanian is arrested etc etc………revoke their status and……… I will say no more other than to invite you to try to understand you are a hidjut to use this impossible argument. Sadly, you are so far gone in bigotry and brainlessness, you may not have a clue what I am talking about.

    • Anonymous says:

      Away forever would be better.

  3. Anonymously says:

    The parole board should send all the non Caymanian prisoners who have spent half of their sentence home but send all their information on to all the first world countries so that they don't become a menace to other countries by changing their names and passports.