Manager suspended in prison probe

| 13/05/2015 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

HMP Northward

(CNS): Prison boss Neil Lavis has confirmed that yet another member of his team has been suspended from their job in relation to an ongoing prison investigation. Although the director said he was unable to give any details because of the enquiry, CNS has learned staff member in question is the custody manager whose office was bugged with secret and unauthorized surveillance equipment. We have also learned that the probe involves allegations of possible sexual misconduct.

One month ago a prison officer was suspended from his job as a result of his alleged involvement in placing what was understood to be audio and CCTV equipment in the office of a member of the management team. CNS learned that officer had reportedly done so at the request of another member of the management team.

However, the director confirmed at that time that no formal prison investigation was underway into any member of management and that no authorization had been given for the covert spying equipment to be installed. He said that he was unaware of allegations that any of his staff had behaved inappropriately with inmates.

The prison official believed to have instructed the officer to install the surveillance equipment had reportedly raised concerns about the custody boss. Shortly afterwards, she was also suspended from her post.

While the prison has refused to name the latest person to be suspended because the investigation is now in the hands of the RCIPS, the prison boss has not denied that it is a member of the management team.

CNS has, however, seen documentation confirming that the custody manager has now been suspended in relation to the original allegations about misconduct with inmates. It is not clear if the unauthorized surveillance equipment has revealed any incriminating evidence but it is understood that the senior female prison official was meeting with inmates alone in a locked office, which had raised concerns about security.

The suspension of this third member of the prison team follows the recent sacking of two prison officers from the female facility at Fairbanks recently, which is understood to have been in connection with the management and misuse of medications for a high-profile inmate with severe mental health problems.

It also follows the enforced resignation of an officer in December, who was sacked after he was exposed as having a criminal record for sex offences before he was recruited to the prison service. Ricardo Fisher left the prison when his criminal record in the US as well as his appearance on a sex offenders register was revealed to the prison service following an anonymous tip. Although the Jamaican national was listed by American authorities as a threat to public safety, the man had worked at for the prison service for several years and it was not clear if background checks had ever been conducted.

Facing a significant number of staffing challenges over the last six months, as well as issues relating to problems with the standard of the prison facilities, the service will be facing even more difficult times ahead over the new conditional release bill.

Once implemented, it will require all convicted inmates serving time in the prisons to follow structured sentencing plans with pathways to release as well as proper rehabilitation. This means the prison will have to address chronic problems among its population, from mental health issues to serious drug and alcohol addiction, anger management, learning difficulties and the social deprivation that many inmates face on release.

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Category: Crime, Prison

Comments (9)

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  1. Pauline says:

    How can someone know everything that is going on in their work place? Every week police, government, immigration are exposed, most times nothing comes of it, at least mr lavis has the balls to deal with it when he finds out,

  2. jai says:

    I’m sure only a few of the apples are bad and those will be the target of sorting this mess.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Neil Lavis certainly seems to be doing a good job. Keep it up. Lets get all the bad apples out of there and have the prison running as it is supposed to be. Well Done Sir

    • Anonymous says:

      Sometimes you just have to cut the whole apple tree down!!

    • jai says:

      I’m not so sure Neil Lavis is doing such a good job. He kept saying he didn’t know what was going on in the prison he’s directing.

      • Anonymous says:

        For goodness sake let the man get on with his job.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its early days as he gets to grips with everything. Give the man a chance. So far he has introduced some worthy initiatives or are you looking to hound him out of Cayman?

      • Anonymous says:

        He is fighting an uphill battle, with his managers around him. His life must be difficult.
        The director reveal that it is a manager who was suspended, then what is the secrecy around the second persons that was suspended, Was that person not a manager.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree!

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