Teenage prisoners build their own basketball court

| 16/10/2017 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service

Juvenile inmates help construct a basketball court at HMP Northward

(CNS): A group of young offenders who are currently locked up in the juvenile unit at HMP Northward have started work constructing their own basketball court, which the prison director said was not just about providing a new way for them to exercise but was also an opportunity for the boys to learn a range of new skills. Officials at the prison said that the project provided an opportunity for rehabilitation for these youngsters and to build positive relationships with adults.

Prison Director Neil Lavis said the juveniles had asked for the court and the prison agreed to supply the material. He said that incarcerating children is absolutely the least desirable option for any judicial system or society but it is often a reality.

“Everything beyond the basic needs, such as food, shelter, safety, education, is an earned privilege in prison. Granting the teens the request for a basketball court has already provided mentoring  opportunities and shown them the power of teamwork,” Lavis said.

Cayman News Service

Juvenile inmates help construct a basketball court at HMP Northward

“Although exercise is mandatory and built into their daily routine, specific sporting equipment and facilities are not a necessity. So, prison management agreed to fund the building material for the basketball court, not only because it would be a great way for the young men to occupy their time and focus on fitness, but it would also create an opportunity for them to learn some valuable skills,” the director explained.

The four teenage inmates and prison officers working on the sports facility began by researching how to properly construct a basketball court and then got to work. Once the perimeter was laid out, everyone pitched in to frame the area, with the officers closely supervising the cutting and nailing of the wood framing. The teens also got some hands-on experience digging a 3-foot hole with a jackhammer to anchor the basketball hoop.

“All of the teens got involved and put in the sweat, muscle and time to dig out the area for the court,” Lavis stated.

Last week the boys, with the help of officers, got to work laying the foundation by pouring the cement and began preparing the court area with rebar and installing a pole for the basketball hoop.

Deputy Director of Rehabilitation Aduke Joseph Caesar said the officers had taken the opportunity to not only teach the young men basic construction skills but also to have conversations with them, listen to them and encourage them.

“This is exactly the kind of project that makes rehabilitation possible,” she stated. “All these young men know is that they are working on a basketball court, but the benefits to them can’t be measured in time or 3-point shots. They are developing positive relationships with adults, learning to work with each other, learning about delayed gratification and possible training and employment options for future careers.”

HMP Northward houses four young men under the age of 18 in a unit where, officials said, every effort is made to keep them separate from the adult prisoners, as is the legal requirement per the Constitution. The Children’s Unit includes separate living quarters, association areas, a classroom and an exercise area.

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Category: Crime, Prison

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well gee, Mr Scienceman, I guess you’ve just got all the answers huh?

    Question; Does your groundbreaking, scientific explanation provide reasons why the western prison population is made up primarily of the poor and disenfranchised – regardless of race, religion or background?

    Could it be something to do with the inherently dysfunctional environment brought on by an impoverished and neglected reality?

    If you removed your biased glasses of prejudgement, you would have by now noticed that not many are as adamant as I when it comes to crime and general societal disorder – especially as it concerns young Caymanian males.

    At the same time, I maintain the grace and humility to acknowledge a positive gesture such as the group initiative to CONSTRUCT this relatively laborious project.

    This was a moment to sieze and I am grateful to see the prison authorities felt the same way.

    Then again..what do that lot know about these things right?
    Surely they would be much better off following the advice of Mr Scienceman here..and his like-minded supporters.

    – Whodatis

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comment about class does not affect the point that was being made, which is that evidence is moving very firmly towards many criminal being hard-wired into crime, so that once your buddies are caught the chances of them reforming is far far lower than the do-gooder agenda would like to believe.

      As to class ratios, a lack of self-control and delayed gratification is common among the lower socio-economic strata. Genetics play a part in that, more than we would like to acknowledge. Also children from affluent families may avoid criminality even if predisposed to it by the presence of other opportunities. That is not a reason to feel sorry for those that commit crime, they are scum.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, your original post (and follow-up garbage) does not address my original post or the news report in question.

        The issue at hand isn’t about criminals or why a person turns to crime – although you clearly get your rocks off on speculating in the localised context.

        The story is actually about convicted, young criminals coming together to work toward a wholly positive endeavour despite their current circumstances.

        Nevertheless, degenerative assholes like yourself (and friends) couldn’t resist the deep-seeded hatred and not continue to berate these young men.

        You are pathetic and your mother failed in her duty to raise a decent human being. My guess is that her mother also failed in her duty.
        Perhaps there is a scientific explanation for your generational shortcomings?

        – Whodatis

    • Its me Jah Dread says:

      whodatis, my brother, do you know what offenses were committed by the imprisoned kids?. I’m not sure if your statements are meant to inspire, degrade or whatthathis. Not everybody is as smart as you bredren so if you truly gracefully and humbly acknowledge the positivity of the actions at the prison, which ultimately will engender it is hoped , a better cadre of boys when they serve their time then bredren; wa the rass ya going on about. Furthermore what are you doing to help the societal dysfunction as you term it?.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, I cannot decipher the angle of the majority of your post so not sure how to respond.

        However, regarding my efforts to address societal dysfunction; let’s just say I regard, raise, and care for a number of less fortunate people as family despite no blood connection whatsoever.


        – Who

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised there wasn’t a basketbll goal already. Nice that these young men (not children) took the initiative.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Now what about the good kids outside of prison who might want to learn such a skill as laying concrete? Seems if you don’t to be a lawyer or work in a bank these days you have to fend for yourself.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To bad they could not have put those skills to use and then they would not be in there.

  5. Anonymous says:

    They should be building roads, sidewalks, civic buildings etc…

  6. Anonymous says:

    At least they are learning construction skills. A vital part of reintegration, is to be able to find a job and work to maintain your own expenses once released. Locking them up in solitude fore their jail term, especially if the term is less than 10 years, is only kicking the can down the road. Once these prisoners are released without learning a skill or trade, they will re offend and return to prison.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Once it is finished, could I be invited to smash it up and wreck it? I could also take their basketballs, or at least deflate them with a blade.

    Then, they might understand the impact of anti-social behaviour.

    I’d then let them rebuild it, as a life lesson.

    • Shane Solomon says:

      If you’re going to make a comment as ignorant as that, then you should be bold enough to put your name and contact info. Don’t hide behind the anonymous tag. Those kids are trying to do better. Have they made mistakes? Sure have. And they are paying for them. But regardless of their wrong-doings…it doesn’t give you the right to be ignorant when you feel like. Sound like you have some lessons to learn yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t sound to be any better than the young wayward boys. Perhaps they pick up tgeur attitudes from you and your kind. Ever thought of that anonymous at 12:51?

    • Diogenes says:

      Pretty stupid idea, unless your whole plan is trying to teach them to not trust the system so that they can continue down the path of crime.

  8. Concerned Caymanian says:

    This should have started in the latter 80’s too late and laidback! Or during this era Cayman was deemed crime free /jewel of the Caribbean such a pity being blinded to see the future. Poor Dr Frank Mcfield identified juvenile delinquency around the 80’s what happened? He was castigated , his reputation brought low. I hope he still has the guts and stamina to stand up and remind them, that , what he was telling them came to past. I hope Dr Frank should have the privelege to be a Councillor /Advisor to the Juvenile Centre. He’s a qualified Caymanian who has his country’s best at heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      And a record of personal weaknesses and scandals that has proven that he is unfit to lead. Thus the people have spoken as seen in the result of the last election.

      • Anonymous says:

        Regardless he’s a qualified Caymanian not perfect but saw what we couldn’t see coming with our youths. If social issues had been addressed around these times trust me we would not have upsurges in Crime amongst our youth. We are now paying an expensive price for this and it’s not going to stop until we have an effective Police Force. Dr Frank let your voice be heard once more!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Qualified Caymanian huh? I would like to see a the doctorate Frank received.

        • Anonymous says:

          Qualified, yes. Able to identify issues, yes. Caymanian, yes. Able to effect a lasting solution, no.

          Objectively speaking he checked all the boxes and was elected and given a chance to contribute to the solution that the people so dearly needed.

          Unfortunately, we have seen that his other weaknesses beacme his own undoing and we are still feeling the impact of the the problems that were so ably identified.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Is this the same McField that gave the police a hard time when he was stopped In his car. Not sure he was charged. Did he identify senior delinquency and differentiate it from juvenile deliquency. I just wonder. I presume he is a qualified Caymanian because he was born here. Dunno.

      • Anonymous says:

        Chris Johnson, we expect better from you. Remember you are one who some of us looked up to or so we thought.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who shot him and why?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great story and kudos to those you guys.

    Any chance of organising a exhibition 3-on-3 tournament to be attended and participated by interested members of the general public?

    – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      You could go and see all your classmates and explain to them why it is all the fault of Tony Blair or the white man and how they are all misunderstood wonderful chaps.

      • Anonymous says:

        …only if you agree to go look in the mirror and acknowledge what a colossal asshole looks like.

        No doubt you were part of the negative crowd in this thread.

        What I know is 9 out of 10 times, the making of an anti-social teen is crafted by a dysfunctional environment. In other words, most of these kids were born with next to no chance of success in life.
        (Not that people like you and yours give a damn about such things. Instead you just pop up at times like these to attack misguided children.)

        Therefore, I send to you and your friends a most sincere ‘eff you.
        How dare you down-cry a group of wayward, formerly criminal, teenagers who have banded together to work toward a positive goal?

        Regardless of how degenerates like yourself feel about it – they have my full support and well-wishes for the future.

        – Who

        *P.S. As you mentioned Tony Blair – how has ASBO-infested, “Broken Britain” fared in the wake of his deplorable leadership?
        Last I heard there is a crisis of uncontrollable, over-populated, riotous British prisons made up of the 30’s and under inmates.

        Yep, that would definitely be the untouchable “ASBO generation” of the UK.


        • Anonymous says:

          Classic apologism. Modern science is coming to the conclusion, an uncomfortable one for the apologists out there, that criminality is hard wired into the brains of criminals. A brain scan can predict recidivism prospects more accurately now than a parole officer.

          There are plenty of kids from tough backgrounds who are not criminals. Rather, it is the bio-structurally weak-willed criminally inclined of that sociopath-economic strata that fill the prisons. Whatever the reasons, apologists like you are the reason that prisons are soft and sentencing is too soft because of the fact you would like to see these horrible people as victims rather than what they are, an evil cancer to society threatening the lives and happiness of law-abiding families.

          As for the basketball court – what a great place for criminals to fraternise with other criminals and for gang culture to flourish. How about we don’t make prison more fun for them and they spend more time locked up in solitary. Solitary has a a surprisingly deterrent effect for borderline cases.

          And ”foh” as a sign off? Really, how childish and unimaginative are you Who? Don’t answer that, we know the answer.

        • Dunz says:

          Theresa May has even acknowledged that blacks are over represented and get harsher sentences to their white peers. Also the police have admitted that they can not police low level crime

          • Anonymous says:

            Indeed she has Dunz – thanks for mentioning.

            Not that the majority of racist assh*les on this forum give a hot damn about these types of findings and facts.

            Never mind that the majority of serious crime in their society is being committed by their own White males.
            In fact, remove London and Birmingham from the statistics and it is almost absolutely a White-on-White crime epidemic in the UK.

            – Who

            * In light of the above, it is interesting how “White-on-White crime” is not a standard reference similar to others, innit mate?

            • Anonymous says:

              So “the majority” of crime is being committed by a group that make up 80% of the population, who would have thunk that?

              • Anonymous says:

                Well, London Met police surely didn’t “thunk” that.

                This was proven on the regular as they “randomly” stopped and searched myself and fellow Black uni classmates while Paul, my White English flatmate, walked right by them with pockets filled with marijuana and the occasional bag of coke.

                Just one example for you, Bub.

                – Who

                * Btw, in light of your astute acknowledgement, any idea why “White-on-White” crime is not a “thing” for the British police?

                Where is the specialized “Trident” force to combat that largest threat to the society?

                Very interesting country over there.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Well statistically given your racial profile, you were about six times more likely to be carrying a knife or drugs so it made sense in terms of efficiency to stop you six times more.

                  • Anonymous says:


                    By that statistical logic they should be kicking in your door and searching your web history for child pornography and cupboards for souvenir boy briefs.


                    – Who

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Btw, I trust you realise such statistics are inherently and scientifically flawed.

                    E.g. I am Black. I was not born or raised in the UK. I lived in the UK for a period of time.

                    According to British studies and surveys, I was, as you repeated, “about six times more likely to be carrying a knife or drugs” – simply because of the colour of my skin.

                    The problem is that those studies completely ignore socioeconomic status and immediate environment of the target group.
                    (The same error is committed in virtually every western country. Partly due to ignorance and laziness, but mostly due to systemic, covert racism and unspoken collusion.)

                    I.e., I was a young, Black male from a Caribbean country and grew up in a lifestyle superior to 90% of White Brits.

                    I also hailed from a majority-Black country which boasted an almost non-existent level of serious crime or knife-carrying.

                    Nevertheless, none of the undeniable failings of the UK’s theories applied and it simply boiled down to; there goes a young, Black male – he is inherently dangerous and criminal-minded.

                    *How would you apply your referenced statistical data to a Black country like the Cayman Islands?*
                    (According to the UK’s findings I had to have grown up in a crime-ridden, drug-addicted environment simply because said environment was majority Black.)

                    ** Very perplexing, as so many White Brits (and other westerners) are doing the most to permanently relocate to this Black country in search of a better life. **

                    As the good Justice fatefully declared; the UK is an institutionally racist society.

                    Unfortunately, we now have a wave of Brits, Americans, Canadians and other biased westerners relocating to majority Black societies and bringing with them their preconceived prejudices.

                    You know one of them very well.

                    – Whodatis

                • Anonymous says:

                  The Met? There are no red bricks in London or near London.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lastly, “the white man”?

        Soopa-Turtle-Fly: “What you talkin’ bout, Jiiive-Turkey?!”

        Lol, dude – get over yourself.
        Or at a minimum, upgrade your perspective. Geeesh, I’m embarrassed for you.

        • Anonymous says:

          The “white man” does seem a pithy motif to cover the gist of most of Whodatis’s hackneyed freshman politics rants.

          • Anonymous says:

            …and the “black man” does seem a pithy motif to cover the gist of most of CNS’ regulars’ hackneyed, age-old, politics rants.

            – Who

      • Anonymous says:

        Why rile him up? The post was not objectionable.

        • Anonymous says:

          Fun. It is fun.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not as much fun as when he had wit. Look at this thread. Basic bleating on about criminals being victims, a quick side-step to the problem being that racism is why they are criminals and then a descent in rather inane ad hominem stuff.

  10. Anonymous says:

    They should be building Cayman’s roads with a shovel on a “Chain Gang!” If these want a be gangstas want to be something them teach them lessons of life…not how to play B-Ball!!!!!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      The problem as per Cool Hand Luke is that ‘it is a a failure to communicate’ . In the words of Paul Newman.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good job…need more programmes like this.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How about keeping them locked up in solitary rather than letting them get friendly with other criminals on the hoops court?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What does it take to become part of this club? Who are paying for the initiation fees?

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