Criminal punishment

| 31/07/2015 | 38 Comments
Cayman News ServiceCay Islander writes: I glanced at the Cayman Islands budget today and was surprised at the cost of criminal punishment. Our 200 prisoners cost us about $10.7M each year. That works out to $55K each! Then we spend another $6.5M on probation services. Clearly this is not something that we can sustain forever, so we need to start thinking differently about criminal punishment and give our judges more options.

To start with, can we agree that we will only put people in prison who present a future danger to the life of other people in our society? You know, the truly evil ones to whom the life of another has no value, but not the mentally handicapped ones. So out of the 200 prisoners, I am not sure how many would fit this criterion, but my guess is that it would be a very small number.
People who commit fraud or who use drugs do cause harm to other people in our society, but they are really not the evil ones from whom we need protection. Even the person who caused the death of another by DUI is a person who did something horribly stupid, but not necessarily evil and they should certainly be punished.
The problem with this mass incarceration for all types of non-violent or carelessness crimes is that we are simply locking away the problems only temporarily and we are having a poor success rate in reintegrating the released people into our society. Many of them return to prison and we blame the probation system for their failure to reintegrate them.
No one is winning and the tax payers are paying for the crimes of other people. Incarceration should only be to protect society and not to punish people.  So let’s make criminal punishment an economic punishment.
As an example, we could take 10 prisoners who were incarcerated for non-violent drug use and use that $500K to buy a boat and send them fishing. We can detox them and pay them a minimal living wage and give the rest of the income to the persons or entity that they harmed.  While at sea during the week, they would be required to attend counselling and they will be at home on the weekends. After their sentence is over, they will have a useful skill and will already be integrated into society.
The college educated prisoners could be sentenced to work in a fish farm, hydroponic farm, call center or helping to grade test results from our schools. Maybe they could be sentenced to help educate the ones who were convicted for using drugs. Their sentence is that they cannot earn more than a minimal wage for many years and they are not allowed to ever possess cash.
My point is that if we think differently, we can punish crime is a way that has a more positive effect on our society rather than the negative effect that we are now having and engage in a more realistic process of rehabilitation.
As far as probation monitoring is concerned.  We could use electronic and video monitoring more effectively. Applications like Whatsapp already have everything that we need to do this effectively, so we could simply ask that company to give us a modified application.
There are great advantages for thinking differently about criminal punishment, don’t you agree?
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Category: Crime, Prison, Viewpoint

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If that was the aim:

    1. Legalise drugs.

    2. Legalise abortion.

    Both exceptionally effective at addressing crime in the short and long term.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They can do rehabilitation on the outside. Most of the criminals do courses to try to get early release only. Lock them away one by one, on their own so they don’t meet one another. Punishment and deterrence should be the goals of jail so make the place hellish.

    • Anonymous says:

      There a too many on this site with relatives who are criminals or who a bleeding heart liberals, They fail to see that it is being soft on these low life is what costs the money. Treat them as badly and cheaply as possible.

  3. The Country With No Plan... says:

    I am in agreement with the author on the topic of prison and rehabilitation. It is unfortunate that we have developed an attitude of “discard” and go to Miami to “replace”.

    To others who are publicly stating their aptitude for criminal behavior like drowning persons ( criminals or not) – you are talking about death and murder, so basically you are a candidate for prison as well. See how much alike all of us are to the criminals we talking about? You are advocating pre-meditated murder!!

    As for this non-sensical idea that Cayman, who don’t and won’t try and develop something to export, can export our unwanted to another man’s country – join the real world please.

    As for Cuba ( not sure why Cuba), have you ever stopped and thought about the CRIMINAL manner that we treat Cubans when they come here?

  4. nauticalone says:

    Certainly agree that we cannot afford the current trend…it’s way too costly and not working very effectively. I also agree with some other posters here in that; we legalize and tax drugs. At least marijuana.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Im sure most of the prisoners at northwood would love the opportunity to work with hydroponic farming and learn all about

  6. Pit Bull says:

    We need to bang more of them up, shackled to a wall in a room on their own. They can become a number for a while with no visits.

    • Anonymous says:

      55,000 per prisoner, per year. They are costing the Country more money then the average individual makes in the Cayman Islands yearly. Does anybody see anything wrong with this? I would really like to see a proper breakdown for this figure..seems it bit high don’t you think?

      • Pit Bull says:

        Exactly Pit Bull’s point. Shackle them up in solitary, give them no visitors and feed them scraps. Would cut the cost dramatically.

        • Bloviator says:

          People who refer to themselves in the third person are usually twits of the highest order.

      • Tim says:

        The cost is hight because we pay our prisoners officers a decent wage plus high electricity . When you take away all of the fixed costs. The cost is less than $10 a day. Rather than post ridiculous comments and crazy recommendations I actually went to the source and asked a few questions. What a novel idea .

  7. NoMo ADHD says:

    On the one hand we have those who want to drown them, those who wish to ship them off to Cuba, and and those who wish to let them run amok in our midst holding hands and singing kum bah ya. Personally I’m of the opinion that we split it somewhere down the middle – ship them off to Cuba and half-way there we push them off the boat with kum bah ya blaring on the ship’s stereo in the background.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If criminals cannot be controlled on land – I doubt very much we will be able to control them or change their attitudes by placing them in a boat.

    Now just imagine the greater pillaging of our marine parks, running of guns, drugs and stolen property to Jamaica and Honduras etc…. in such vessels ? It only takes about eight hours to get to Negril Point and 3 – 4 hours to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman by boat. Lot’s of fishing boats traveling back and forth to Honduras so it’s no problem connecting to the south west.

    I do like the idea of alternative sentencing (instead of prison for non-violent offenses) but putting them in a boat is not a good choice.

    How about bringing back corporal punishment similar to what they do in countries like Singapore ?

    Singapore is a flourishing country and very little crime.

    The Holy Bible honorably states “the rod of correction will surely drive the foolishness out of any child”

    I would add “the foolishness out of any grown man or woman as well”

    Don’t wait until kid’s are 10 – 12 years of age to enact appropriate punishment but start at age 3 – 5 years.

    Why this young age ?? Well just go into any supermarket and other business place in the Cayman Islands and see the behavior of some of these children (3 – 5 yrs) in front of their parent(s) who have their faces stuck in an I-Phone communicating with multiple “baby fathers or baby mamas” while their children are blowing up like a tropical storm.

    Less than eight years later…….. these kid’s are in the juvenile court system, then in another five to seven years they are arrested, charged with capital offenses or worst yet, their photos are printed for funeral announcements by Churchill’s or Bodden Funeral home in the Cayman Compass.

    Wake up Cayman Islands, this is REALITY and not a fictional television movie or series.

  9. Just another Dave in Paradise says:

    Northward. Cayman Airways. Boatswain Beach. Nice to have all three. But you can only afford one. You decide.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Many prison inmates are there because of drugs, mental disorder, or a combination of both.


    Legalize, tax, and control all drugs just like we do with the “legal” drugs: alcohol, nicotine, and prescription drugs.

    Introduce age appropriate explicit sex and relationship education to the schools. Make birth control tools inexpensive and available without stigma.

    • DW says:

      …and privatize the prison. End this madness.

      • Love your lawyer says:

        Bad idea. You privatise the prison system and you get the USA. More of its population per capita behind bars than any other nation on earth. And a justice system aimed at putting people in jail for everything little transgression, unless you can afford an expensive settlement.

    • Ray says:

      Ahhhhh is rehabilitation that easy wow. Where do we buy the fish farm??? Oh wait there is one at the prison already being used by prisoners. Zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz please wake up

      • Anonymous says:

        The post is not about rehabilitation.

        The post is about fixing a broken culture by:

        1. putting criminal drug pushers out of business and

        2. preventing prenatally abused children from being born in the first place.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Subcontracting to Cuba could be the answer. If the US gives Guantananamo back there will be a nice empty facility..they could use the hard currency, and it would be a lot cheaper and its the best deterrent to criminals I can think of. Maybe we could use their court system too…

    • Auto says:

      We uses to send them to Jamaica up to the early 80’s, but it was deemed ‘inhumane’ so we built Northward (we also built ‘gallows’ but that is for another topic). Ask any Caymanian who was sent to Ja if they wan’t to go back to prison … I know a few & they are hard-working & trustworth people.
      Prison is supposed to be a detterant, not an ‘All-inclusive Resort’.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I smoke enough ganja to make me think I could be a good policeman

  13. Prison Industry Program Needed says:

    I believe the author of the viewpoint is suggesting a ‘minimum security facility’ which is an excellent idea. The problem is funding. We also need a maximum security rehab facility for the drug abusers, DUI offenders and alcoholics which is also costly. The violent criminals, sex offenders and domestic abusers need ‘hard labour’ stipulations added to their sentences to deter recidivism. Example: roadside cleanups, janitorial work, farming, mandatory bootcamp-level exercise drills, etc. If I had my way, the prisoners would be trained in trenching technology in order to pioneer the burying of all of the power lines on the Islands. That would beautify the islands and protect us from potential radiation from the power lines. Why it takes 50K to house a prisoner is beyond me, but since they’re basically drawing a salary from our taxes, I would consider them to be unofficial ‘civil servants’ and put them to work.

    • Shhhhhh. says:

      I support you 100% on that point! For the life of me I will never understand why we are not making more use of actual productive work in our prisons as a means of imparting skills, aiding rehabilitation, and hopefully giving the inmates a hope of a productive life after prison. How much does govt. spend buying things that could be made by inmates? Some prisons abroad produce their own food on low security farms manned by low risk prisoners, saving millions in costs. We import eggs that could easily be produced here. We have millions of lion fish to get rid of. Road building, maintenance, signs, schools to build, etc. etc. Lets get creative, productive, and for God’s sake stop believing that locking everyone away in a crime university is going to solve our crime problem!
      We are running out of time on this one.

      Procrastination is moving the problem into the impossible category.

  14. Anonymous says:

    For CI$150 a day I could live in a reasonable hotel in another country and get fed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I know a number of young Caymanians who would make excellent police officers if it wasn’t for a ganga conviction in their youth. Who hasn’t tried ganga at some time.
    Free these guys and expunge their records so that they can take up the challenge that our imported cops are unable to handle.

    • Ex-Cons Make Bad Police says:

      I resent the statement “who hasn’t tried ganja at some time?”. You’re assuming that everyone has the same lack of inhibition and self-discipline as those who allow themselves to be sucked into that lifestyle. Those types of people would not make “excellent police officers” for the sheer fact that they lack the morals needed for the job. They don’t believe in the law.

      However, if they’ve truly cleaned up their lifestyles, they could have their records expunged after a certain amount of time so they can get a decent job. As for jobs in the RCIPS, those jobs should be off limits to convicts unless their juvenile records were expunged and they are fully rehabilitated. RCIPS jobs should be off limits to weed heads, alcoholics, drug pushers, wife beaters, DUI convicts, etc. We need a clean police service everyone, and that starts with clean blood samples.

  16. Iggy says:

    We could also buy another boat for the particularly heinous criminals and the repeat offenders that are slowly eroding the safety and security of our islands and take them out “fishing” too… I believe all local media recently showed a device fashioned from a simple concrete block that could be used on these trips…

    • Anonymous says:

      @9:24 I take it that the boat is for the offenders to go fishing, and the “device” will be used by yourself to get back to shore?

  17. Anonymous says:

    They need to be sent to cuba will cost less than 2 million a year for 200 of them
    or build gallows and use them along with sterilization

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is a great topic and it’s one that needs immediate attention. The viewpoints of the author reflects a new sensible approach that is gaining momentum worldwide.

    To the author, thank you for bringing this forward for open conversation.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree. We can display common sense and be leaders in not using prison for substance abusers and the mentally ill and invest more in rehabilitation-which can easily be measured for effectiveness. By the way I know for a fact that many who should be diverted to treatment but are incarcerated instead earn a doctorate in criminology from the hard core inmates-especially our youths.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately all criminals be it fraud, burglars etc cause harm to our society. If anything not having them in prison, just means that they just carry on as normal which has evidence in the news every week.

    While monitoring with whatsapp, may work for some, I’m sure even the stupidest criminal will work out just to leave his phone at home while he goes out to commit a crime.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “Can we agree that we will only put people in prison who present a future danger to the life of other people in our society?” No we can’t. It is your sort of liberal agenda that is the problem. Everyone who comments an offence of dishonesty or violence should face jail. And to reduce costs, first put them all on solitary, second basically feed them gruel and third charge the ones with assets a hefty fee for being in there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah that American prison policy and 3 strikes you’re out rule has worked so well for them – the second highest documented incarceration rate in the world – idiot.

      • Anonymous says:

        American Prisons are privatized facility that makes milo ions of dollars annually. Look at the demographics, who are the ones that are being incarcerated. Young black men right? The “state prisons” are not actually run by the state but private entities. Northward is a HMP rum by the Government, big difference because you the tax payer are funding the operation. Read it for yourselves.

        Give them a paint brush, shovels, pick axes, weed whackers etc and put them rassclaat to work, it’s that simple. Make them earn their keep, they didn’t want to work on the outside because they’re lazy ass Caymanians, make them do public work in the hot sun and build roads and schools and clean up the islands beaches, roadsideS and go cut bush and public land. Stop letting them relax in AC all day and do nothing. Glad I ain’t paying for that sh!T any more. The real killers and criminals getting away with murder, literally, you lot hate Jamaicans and foreigners so much, your lovley little island in the sun is Jamaica 2.0.

      • Anonymous says:

        As the OP I agree 3 strikes is a terrible policy – it looks people up for long periods at the end of their criminal career rather than at the beginning. It is far more efficient to lock up the first timers for much longer to stop them re-offending.

    • Anonymous says:

      8.25- Donald Trump needs you and your intolerance!

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