Hope on horizon for ‘lifers’

| 03/06/2014

(CNS): Inmates at HMP Northward serving life sentences have new hope of an alternative future to dying behind bars as Cayman moves into a more modern regime regarding the punishment of those who are convicted of murder. The government is currently working on a conditional release law which will see prisoners who receive a life sentence for murder offered a tariff for a minimum period in jail before they can go before the parole board and begin working towards a release date. Not only compatible with the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, giving lifers hope of a potential release date gives the prison authorities a carrot to use to help in the management of prisoners handed life sentences.

In the interim, some inmates who have already served more than 25 years in jail are being transitionedtowards release on licence under the prisons law. Three inmates serving life sentences will be released over the next 18 months following the release of Blandford Lowell Dixon last year and the more recent deportation of another unidentified prisoner.

Prisons Director Neil Lavis told CNS recently that the prison is working hard to create transition programmes for prisoners who will inevitably be released over the coming years. He explained that the process of releasing convicted killers will be phased and very closely supervised. The phased release into the community for lifers will follow the same process as that already in place for other prisoners serving long sentences.

The gradual introduction of a new regime for lifers does not mean that all convicted killers will one day be released.

Each case will be judged on its own merits. With the introduction of tariffs, judges will be able to give a minimum period of time that a person convicted of murder must serve before they can be considered for parole. Whether that is 20, 30 or even 50 years will be in the hands of the court but it will be the prison service, the parole board and the Department for Community Rehabilitation who will manage the prisoners’ futures once they have served the minimum terms ordered by the courts.

The legislation, which is listed on the government’s legislative agenda for 2014/15, is still in the drafting stage and is not expected to come before parliament much before the end of this year. But that doesn’t mean the prison is not already working on plans for those serving life sentences, especially prisoners who have been in jail for more than twenty years.

However, in a case that is not easily explained from government’s perspective, lawyers representing Tareeq Rickets, who was convicted of murdering Jackson Rainford in a jealousy motivated shooting in August 2013, have applied for a tariff. The case is currently set to be heard by the Court of Appeal this summer and the crown is fighting the application, even though the authorities are working on legislation which will provide a tariff system for all convicted killers – including Ricketts.

The lifers who are currently being transitioned towards release are on a phased plan, which will see them go into the community for longer and longer periods while they are learning to readjust to life back on the streets after decades of institutionalization. The parole board has confirmed that its primary consideration in all cases being considered for release will be risk.

The three inmates currently being considered for release, which has been sanctioned by the governor, will be subject to licence conditions, such as a curfew and regular meetings to aid their rehabilitation. Their release will be very closely monitored, officials stated, and if the conditions are broken the individuals can be recalled to prison with immediate effect.

According to updated information from prison officials, there are 18 men in HMP Northward serving life sentences for murder and one man is serving a life sentence for a double rape.

Since Blandford Dixon was released on license in 2013, the two men convicted of murder with him, his brother Linsel Dixon and Owen Bruce, are understood to be two of the three men currently on the phased release programme. The three men were convicted of killing Charles Evans Rankine, the Dixon brothers' step-father, and so far they have served some 28 years behind bars.

McCandy Thomas has served 24 years after his conviction for the murder 77-year-old Ratmir Pavlovic during a robbery at the jewellery store he owned in March 1990. William Powell, who has served 28 years, was sentenced to be hanged for the killing of Gaynell and Charles Ebanks in 1986, which was commuted to life in prison after the UK abolished the death penalty. It is understood that one of these men has been deported and the other is one of the three inmates going through the phased release.

Meanwhile, George Roper has also applied for release, having served some 24 years of his life sentence after he was convicted, along with Steve Manderson, who has served 21 years, for the murder of a prison employee.

The rest of the men who are serving mandatory life sentences who have no tariffs or potential release dates have all served considerably less time.

Brian Powell and Kurt Ebanks, who were remanded in 2000 and convicted in 2001, have both served 14 years for the murder of Curtis Seymour. John Gouldbourne, who was remanded in 2004 and convicted in 2006 when he was 55 years old, has served ten years of his life sentence for the brutal murder of Moreen Williams at the home they shared in West Bay. Trevino Bodden, who was remanded and convicted in 2007, has served seven years for the murder of brothers Brenard Scott and Renold Pearson in East End in November 2006.

Larry Ricketts and Kirkland Henry were jailed on remand in 2008 and convicted of the shocking rape and murder of Estella Scott Roberts in 2010. Randy Martin was also convicted of murder in 2010 after he killed Sabrina Schirn when he was working at the old prison farm in East End, while he was already serving a sentence for violence.

Leonard Ebanks is another one of Cayman’s most recent lifers, having been convicted in September 2011 for the shooting of Tyrone Ebanks in a gang related killing. Chakane Jamelle "CJ" Scott,  Devon Anglin and Razial Jeffers were all convicted of murder in 2012 for various gang related killings.

Tareeq Rickets has appealed his mandatory life sentence and is hoping the appeal court will speed the process for tariffs and set a minimum sentence that would provide for his eventual release at a future date.

Meanwhile, Chad Anlgin was the latest Caymanians to be sentenced to life last month for the murder of Swiss banker Fredric Bise. Jeffrey Barnes is the only inmate serving a life sentence for a crime other than murder after Grand Court judge Justice Charles Quin handed him a life sentence after he was convicted on two separate cases of rape.

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  1. Anonymousand says:

    “You may want to sit down for this.  Take your time.  And think very carefully about the next six words:  Not all murders are the same…”

    Well-FYI, all victims are the same: Deceased!

    Releasing murderers in our small society does not consider 2 facts:
    Restitution to families
    Victim impact

    Neither are considered by the Parole Board or by the court-assigned Half-way homes or Rehab programmes, which allow criminals to be entitled to new luxuries,and to circulate freely, and in many cases, to get “smarter” at crime – while showing no remorse for victims!!!
    Victims dont get the chance to negotiate or reduce the impact on them, so why should ANy criminal.
    Of course we all would be “repentant’ if placed behind bars, but have you EVER seem a Parole officer on the corner checking up on these losers after they are set free??

    • Anonymous says:

      The extent to which people are clearly misinformed on this issue is very worrying.  As someone well-informed once said:  

      "…the crime of murder embraces a range of offences of widely varying degrees of criminal culpability.  It covers at one extreme the sadistic murder of a child for the purposes of sexual gratification, a terrorist atrocity causing multiple deaths or a contract killing, at the other the mercy-killing of a loved one suffering unbearable pain in a terminal illness or a killing which results from an excessive response to a perceivedthreat.  All killings which satisfy the definition of murder are by no means equally heinous."

      Those unable to distinguish between these crimes (all called 'murder') should not be participating in this debate.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% Agree.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I call on all residents of the Cayman Islands to get up and march against lifers getting a second chance of freedom.. What the Goverment should doing is protecting the human rights of the deased and their surving family members and not the rights of these scumbags (lifers). I will forever be disappointed if the Progressives vote this thru.

  3. noname says:

    We all need to asking and how this bill of rights improves the life of the average law abiding citizen.

  4. Just a Simple Caymanian says:

    Boy Oh Boy….. You kill some one for whatever….. and you are convicted go to jail for life adn a few years down the road you have the chance to be freed. what happens to the victim or victims family….. the person is still dead life cut short and the family is still greaving and the KILLER get to go free again regardless of how old he/she is.


    I say NO STAY in JAIL until you die … No and s If or Buts. An eye for an eye.


    Those are my thoughts

  5. eyeseeme says:

    Everyone deserves a second chance n life.I wonder if these "lfers" were your relatives will you want to keep them in prison.throw away the key and forget about them?,or will you want them to be free at some point in the not too distant future?

    • Anonymous says:

      "Everyone deserves a second chance".  Problem is, their victims and the victims families don't get a second chance because some scumbag killed them.  What about their second chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you out of your friggin mind?  Everyone deserves a second shot??? You gota be kidding.  They KILLED PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD!!! No one who kills in cold blood deserves a second chance.  FULL STOP!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      what about the person they killed? no second chance for them.

      if it was premeditated murder, they deserve to be locked away

    • Anonymous says:

      I want all those people AWAY from me foreever.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We have let lawyers and politicians create this mess we now have to negotiate ourselves out of. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Good luck with the independence movement, because that is what it would take.  This is a national or international issue for the UK and the views of mere local authority politicians are not relevant.

  7. Anonymous says:

    BULL SH*T!!!!!!! What a crock of turtle soup. You murdered someone…die in prison…..better yet…….Lethal Injection is better. I'll give it to them myself.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Someone asks when they get out and commit another crime will they go back to jail? 

    Dude they will probably be 60 yrs old when they are released lol 

    • Anonymous says:

      And being 60 years old will somehow stop them re-offending? I'm in my 60s and still probably capable of committing a whole variety of crimes, including murder, if the mood ever took me.

      In fact advancing age is one of the real issues about this policy. What will they release someone in their late 50s or early 60s to? No pension, no welfare, no job, nowhere to live, no health cover?

      They'd be better off back in Northward and you can pretty much guarantee that's where they'll end up because crime will be the only way they can survive in the outside world.This is muddled, and typically PC, thinking. 


    • Anonymous says:

      60 is still quite young. Many are still strong and energetic.  It is possible to commit another crime. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lets consider this scenerio, I am a law biding citizen marriet and a father of 1, a man molests and murders my son.  The RCIPS finds him, the courts convict him and he gets life.  Years down the road, as parole board finds him worthy of parole and they let him out.  The release of this man reopens the wounds that have left massive scar tissue right under the skin that has finally healed over.  I lose it and send this convicted child rapist/murderer to have his day of judgement with the God I worked so hard to believe in again after not understanding why he would let such a monster roam the earth and take my beautiful son from me.  I am now a murderer, and that SOB is dead.  Maybe I will get paroled before I die.

  10. Anonymous says:

    RIDICULOUS. After they have deprived someone of their "right to live",  they should be given an opportunity to live freely and without discomfort?! I dont think so. I still think the death penalty should be in place for such crimes. Murder shouldnt be taken lightly, once a life is gone, you cant get it back so why should they be given their normal life back? 


  11. Anonymous says:

    Moral of the story: don't give your kids stupid names. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    What makes this so bad is that some people actually plotted to kill their victims, denied that they did it and are still unrepentant. And then we let them out?


    I wonder what Baroness Scotland has to say about this? I know already. We must not violate their human rights. Perhaps we can put Richard Coles and Sara Collins on the spot with this seeing as they represent Cayman at the Human Rights Commission?

    I think you will find that they have been subverted just like almost everyone in authority. I cry at night for our fallen world. We call right wrong and wrong is now right. My heart is so broken and these are not just empty words.

    I am particularly shocked at the Caymanian middle class who have basically sold out for their boring jobs in government, banks, trust companies, administration etc and are too afraid to speak out. Children, if you keep giving inches, you will soon be a mile in the hole.

    You have raised honest children, instilled good values in them and yet you allow your taskmasters to ride roughshod over you. I seriously hate the unrighteousness of our system.


    • Anonymous says:

      It is usually a requirement to get parole that the person has shown remorse for their crime and that means they must have admitted to it. So anyone who contends they did not comit the crime would not normally get parole….

      • Anonymous says:

        Admit it or notthey should not be let out…I believe two of them have been let out already recently but they won't release their names

  13. Anonymous says:

    If they commit another crime, will they put back in for the rest of their life sentence?

    • Anonymous says:

      Who the hell cares about their rights they have no rights. When you take a man and put him on his knees and put a bullet in back of his head when you take a young woman rape her burn her body you are gonna consider letting them out in society.   Or have already let them out.  These type of people have no right to be out non what' so ever. Governor can hide behind her gates but what about the innocent people.  Is government going to employ them or expect the private sector to employ them.  Tracking devises are crap that was proven already.  Anything happens its all on you governor 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why do so many things here have to be a big stupid secret. Just tell us who was deported! Christ! We paid to house and feed him while he was here. What are you hiding??

  15. Anonymous says:

    Bring back capital punishment.


    • Anonymous says:

      The headlines is something "hope on the horizon for lifers", what about "hope" for the lifes they took???? They shouldn't be let out in society!!! Quite a few of them are cold blooded killers!!!!! They knew what they were doing.  Who is England to dictate to us that we have to let these monsters back out in society…but won't tell us who they are????

    • Anonymous says:

      NO we do NOT want the UDP back.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a terrible thing this will be. Where is the justice for the victims!? Murderers should not be let free!! Like someone else posted, only people who have committed a murder in self defense should be given this opportunity. Everyone else should remain behind bars for murder until their victim come back from the dead!!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Unless the ones that were murdered can come back to join the living, I don't know why the rules she be different for the murderers. A life for a life – very simple!


  18. Anonymous says:

    Which moron came up with the idea that releasing these violent offenders would be a good idea? So far no one has stated that they believe any of these men will be properly rehabilitated in order to be let out of the prison system which means that they are just letting them out for what reason? This is disturbing and baffling. We have to question why this is even being considered. It's insanity! The thought of those monsters who killed Estella being released is horrifying. Don't the decent, law abiding citizens of the Cayman Islands have any say in this? Just goes to show the mess our country is in! Sad and despicable. This should be protested greatly and not allowed to happen. We are slowly but surely losing the reputation we once had for one of the safest destinations in the world.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is the most retarded thing I have ever heard.  If they had the guts to take someones life we should have the guts to take theirs, for life.

  20. Anonymous says:

    England is dragging us down the road to Hell with them. Has anyone looked at the mess the UK is in these days? They give 10, 15, 20 year sentences for murder. What justice is that for the families of the victims??? The country is a mess thanks to their immigration and human rights policies. Didn't a UK-raised Nigerian Muslim just hack a soldier to death in the street???? I know cities like Birmingham are over run with Muslims walking 4 steps ahead of their burka-clad wives and daughters. England is a new breeding ground for terrorists. The shoe bomber lived in the UK! And they want us to follow them???

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so so right!!!!. Over here we just had an armed robber escape from an "OPEN PRISON". This man was nick named "Skull Cracker" because he pistol whipped the people he was robbing. He had been given 13, yes 13 life sentences and yet after just a few years he was transferred to an open prison. What did he do as soon as he "escaped"??, he walked into a buidling society and held it up with a gun!!!!. We have completely lost the plot with sentencing and punishments and as you so rightly say, you are being dragged along by us, mainly because of the European Court of Human Rights. Life should mean life for premeditated murder and other heinous crimes.


    • Anonymous says:

      First of all, Judging other religions is not what this discussion is about but since you brought it up.  How is different that your religion doesn’t allow me to shop for groceries on Sunday or have a drink or Dance past midnight on Saturday night (and that would be the best day as you can sleep it off at home rather than at work) or not allow anyone to open a gambling establishment. Every religion has its own version of control that’s how they keep you in the fold..that is what makes them right when all the others are wrong.

      Now for the giving lifers the chance of parole.  I thinks it a great idea…let them live thinking they have a chance..it doesn’t mean you actually have to let them out.  The years willdrag on longer and they may try to be better persons with the hope that they will someday get out.  It almost like the hope of going to heaven or living forever.  There is no proof or guaranty that you will…only the hope and faith that you will.

  21. one name says:

    One name: Estella Scott Roberts. 

    I say we do the opposite of letting these criminal out. We build a regional prison that people will NOT want to go to. 

    Hear me out:  The UK has the Isle of Wight and it is a Top Tourist destination,but it also houses 3 prisons.  Let's bring an economy to the Brac, a Regional Security Prison  (I'm not talking about medium security, but $$ high security)  Life on the rock.

    We get a new economy, send a message to the local thugs that your baby mamma and ganja are an hour plane ride AWAY, and keep the bad guys locked up!

  22. Anonymous says:

    What about those that serving TWO life sentences?!!  Please tell me their is no hope for them? 

  23. Anonymous says:

    Just Great! That's all these gangster's and murderers that are left on the street need to know. They can commit murder, spend some years at the Northward Ritz Hotel, all at the publics expense. After they have had many years of rest and relaxation with no expenses to worry about, they can then come out and have a happily ever after life. How wonderful for them! Unfortunately the lives of people killed at their hands can never be again!

    Oh and I might also add this will also be very helpful in getting people to come forward who has witnessed crime. If it wasnt hard enough getting witnesses before, just wait  and see what happens now. This is crap, what rights do the victims and their families have.They have been handed a life sentence of not having their loved one again ever.

    When you plan and murder someone, you should be handed the death sentence. Murderers in Cayman  get off easily.

    I think people that kill in self defence should be the only ones to have  a second chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a professor of criminology clearly you're best placed to comment.  However, enlighten us, if a granny swings a hand bag at you and you shoot her (in self defence) presumably you get a second chance.  Whereas if you shoot (in anger) the man who raped your daughter you don't?

      There is another approach – let a Judge (clue's in the job description) decide the sentence depending on the facts of the case, not the name of the crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you kill in self-defence you have not committed a crime.

  24. Slowpoke says:

    By a process of elimination, we can conclude that the Canadian guy who murdered his girlfriend at Ocean Club, has gone home.

  25. Anonymous says:

    How about requiring tracking devices? You can count on the rapists reoffending if they are young enough.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why waste all this time and money?  Let us just give the convicted murdere or rapist a Tshirt in an unpopular color with the offence of which he has been convicted printed on it.

    What is the point to punishment if it is not that?  It must only encourage potential criminals on the basis that they shall merely get a slap on the hand.

    On need only look back over a relatively short timeframe to see that as punishment has diminished so crimes have increased.

    Sadly there is an element of society that can only be kept in check by the threat of serious punishment for criminal transgression.

    • Grandfather Troll says:

      Yes, the prisons are a great waste of time and money.  CNS, will you give us the true cost of keeping a prisoner for one year?  For the record, I am against prisons.  They are not effective in preventing crime and releasing criminals early is asking for an increase in crime.  If you want to reduce crime, bring back flogging, and make use of a firing squad for repeat offenders.

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      You are so right, Anonymous 10:53!  Why do you suppose it is so hard for others to see?  Are there that many bleeding hearts out there?

  27. Anonymous says:

    If you are in prison you get free housing, no CUC bills, a good retirement deal, free medical, et cetera. Whereas if you are out of prison, you are bogged down with so much stress. Have to work hard just to make a chilling and nobody seems to care. Something is not right with this picture. Alot of emotionally disturb people end up committing crimes. It is not the prison's fault – but out society that needs changing!

    • Anon says:

      I'm guessing you're too young to know the difference between "chilling" and "shilling" (?) 

  28. Anonymous says:

    "Dying behind bars" is what they deserve. This stupid notion about treating people, WHO HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER, with this delicate human rights crap is another foolish European ideal.

    What about those victims, and their families who have to live without their loved ones (especially those who were victims of rape/murder or just the victim of a robber gone wrong?!!

    So, what we are telling people now is that you can kill someone, but alast don't worry…you will eventually get out of jail. What happens if and when one of these people kill again?!!! Who is going to be held responsible?!!! This is just stupid.

    • Anonymous says:

      You may want to sit down for this.  Take your time.  And think very carefully about the next six words:  Not all murders are the same.

    • Grandfather Troll says:

      I still think execution is the most-effective method of preventing murderers and rapist from becoming repeat offenders, and it will cut out the expense of more trials, etc.  

      • Anonymous says:

        What is wrong with alternative methods? Let them live without their testicals for the males and for the females remove the ability to procreate. Intensive counseling in the prison and solitary confinement for all first degree murders until they are released. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Held responsible?? The same person that gets held responsible for all the other dummass stuff that goes on here. NOBODY.