Inmates helped to see effects of crime

| 20/09/2017 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service

HMP Northward, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Ten more inmates at HMP Northward have completed a rehabilitation programme known as the Sycamore Tree Project (STP), which is based on the principles of restorative justice and covers topics such as the effects of crime, responsibility, confession, repentance, forgiveness, making amends and reconciliation. Six groups at HMP Northward and three groups at Fairbanks Prison, a total of 83 prisoners, have completed the programme, since it was introduced to the Cayman prison system in January 2016.

Programme facilitator Cathy Gomez, who is also the prison chaplain and pastoral counsellor, explained, “Often when a crime is being committed, the ‘adrenalin rush’ of the moment is present, rather than the thought of what the impact of that crime will be. This programme raises awareness, promotes healing for both offenders and victims, as well as playing an integral role in the reduction of crime. I would encourage more people from the community to become involved.”

She noted, “Ideally, we should have unrelated victims attending with the groups, but we are able to share victim stories instead.”

Gomez said that while STP is not graded or considered to be difficult, many participants have said the reflection and honesty which it entails has resulted in a huge emotional impact and instilled in them a desire for positive change.

Explaining the importance of STP within the prison service, Deputy Director of Rehabilitation Aduke Joseph-Caesar said, “We at HMCIPS believe that this programme will bring about awareness in participants that will allow for further self-exploration and the movement towards positive change. HMCIPS is tasked to provide inmates with opportunities for a safe and meaningful rehabilitative journey, and the Sycamore Tree Programme is one such tool.”

At an event to celebrate the ten inmates, Gomez said, “It has been an honour to journey with these men and women during the eight weeks of the programme. They bring invaluable perspectives and, along the way, they recognise the power of forgiveness and God’s love.”

The event was attended by Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) leaders, chaplaincy volunteers and family members.



The STP programme is a Prison Fellowship International programme, and is conducted in prisons around the world.

See here for more information.

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Category: Crime, Prison

Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pathetic. Like this is going to make a difference. Rehabilitation in prison is a waste of public funds and most do it to try to get out early before offending again. It is much better to rehabilitation programmes for those who have left jail as only those interested in change will attend. Even for them it is mainly a waste of money, as for the vast majority of criminals criminality is hard wired into their brain structure and will power will not overcome it.

  2. Good over Evil says:

    Congratulations to them and may God continue to bless them. I would surely hope these things will assist them to return to their families. People think that all prisoners are monsters. Well they are not. They are sinners like you and me. And if they took the opportunity to take advantage of a programme that will benefit themselves i wish them the best on their journey into society. May God bless them and forgive as they forgive those who look down on them. Keep up the good work!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would for once like to see anything Government is willing to do for the victims of crime. Any counseling offered for them to deal with PTSD or the financial fall out from being victim of a crime?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am not saying this program is wrong, but I really wished that Cayman would shift its focus to crime prevention rather than rehabilitating criminals! When you live in a small jurisdiction like Cayman, it is impossible to run from your past and the chances of released criminals getting sucked back into their old life style is way too big.

    Suggestions are:
    1 Hold both parents financially responsible for raising their child (too many men sire children and then abandon them)
    2 Hold parents financially responsible for property damage done by their kids (Cliffton Hunter school and new gym and John Gray is already being ripped apart)
    3 Crack down on disruptive behavior at school instead of just leaving teachers to try and deal with it
    4 Built a juvenile detention center which can also serve as a “bootcamp” facility for kids who are showing violent signs etc.
    5 Crack down on petty crime rather than slap on the wrist
    6 Provide more supervised and constructive after school activities and sports programs at affordable cost with active recruitment to those programs in school (churches should help, they get plenty Government funding)
    7 Provide more trade skill learning programs – not everyone is academically inclined

    There are many more things that can be done but the focus should be to ensure that kids are on the right path as it all starts from an early age.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rehabilitating criminals and other Restorative Justice measures is a push toward crime prevention. It makes much more sense to try and get these guys in touch with themselves and hopefully remorseful about the crime the committed as well as aware of underlying distortions that impact their penchants for criminality. The goal being that they seek another pathway now that hope in themselves and society is restored, rather than do nothing and they come out as they went in, if not worst.

      • Anonymous says:

        An empty cell, pen and paper is all you need for them to reflect upon themselves, you have created a cottage industry out of criminals.

    • Anonymous says:

      “churches should help” – are you saying no church provides ASPs? Or at “affordable cost” (subsidized by church members)? And if the latter, your definition of ‘affordable cost’? How much research have you done to come to that conclusion? And do you know any history of ASPs in Cayman – or education for that matter? ” [Churches] get plenty of Government funding”-?? Or was this just thrown in, to a list of some good ideas, as part of the current anti-church crusade, knowing some people like to believe anything like that regardless of facts?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeah right, as if they’re suddenly going to change their ways, probably only attend hoping for a early release and doubt they’ll be looking for a 9 till 5 once they’re out.
    Give me 5 minutes with the low life that robbed our home, it certainly wouldn’t be forgiveness I’d be giving them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I used to be one of those persons who believed our civil service would never change. However given the sea change I have witnessed over the past few years. I have changed my view. Thank you CIG!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Awesome awesome awesome! Restorative Justice has been the missing link to keeping our people from the revolving door. Well done to the powers that be for investing in people.

    • Anonymous says:

      “our people” -reaks of racism. How about having the kids grow up with a father so the kids do not get into trouble in the first place.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh My God, somebody down-voted having fathers. I guess its just not modern to have a father anymore. Let the government save all the unguided youths.

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh My God, somebody downvoted downvoting. This hoax of giving criminals a break and equivocating predators with prey has many cheering for the wrong side.

          • Anonymous says:

            Oh my God, you remind me of someone…she just does not stop and need to find a way to always be right. I think you could be her.

            • Anonymous says:

              oh, my, gawd, I am being attacked as a female trying to promote fathers from skipping out and taking responsibility for their actions. Do you know how may African “fathers” I work with who say they have family in canada so they can get promoted, but they are they one who are always screwing all my colleagues.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Restorative Justice is a scam that is letting petty criminals go free in the US so they can repeat their crimes and cause more grief to society. Crime in the shoolds are out of control because certain cultures coddle their criminals as heroes. Standards of schools are lowered, punks and bullies rule the school grounds knowing they will only get a slap on the wrist. Education has come to a stand still because administrators are more concerned with reporting less infractions than in kicking out the trash so other students can study in a welcoming environment. It is a complete disaster in the US which has lead to the popular charter schools or home schooling. Education is not for everbody, it should be free with no tolerance for jokers.

    • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Crime apologist. The hater of the truth calling other haters so nobody suspects where the true hate is coming from….you can only cover your a#$ so much before that act only brings more attention to yourself than you originally wanted.

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