84% of prisoners released under new law

| 19/03/2018 | 37 Comments
Cayman Islands Conditional Release Board, Cayman News Service

HMP Northward inmates learn leather working skills

(CNS): In its first annual report, the Conditional Release Board has given an early indication of how the new legislation surrounding the release of prisoners is working, revealing that last year 84% of prisoners who had served 60% of their sentences were released on licence and so far none of them have been recalled for breaching their parole conditions. The report, which was made public last week when it was tabled in the Legislative Assembly, found that 45 applications for release were considered in 2017, with 38 people being released and seven refused. 

The board also noted that 12 victims of crime were also interviewed by the board ahead of the hearings for the prisoners.

The short annual report outlines the process, the consideration given to the circumstances surrounding prisoners and, above all, how they weigh the risk to the community versus the need to reintegrate offenders.

Consideration is given to victim submissions; psychiatric, psychological and prison reports; the risks of reoffending; the rehabilitation needs and programmes completed by offenders;  their behaviour during the sentence; a release plan for more rehabilitation in the community; and submissions from the offender, including where they will live and work and what family support they have.

The Conditional Release Law now requires all inmates who have served 60% of their sentence to demonstrate that they have changed and that they no longer pose a risk of re-offending. This compares to the previous situation, where all inmates were released after serving two-thirds of their sentence regardless of their state of rehabilitation or risk.

See the report in the CNS Library

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Category: Crime, Prison

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And all of them probably returning to prospect.

  2. MM says:

    Report? That doesn’t look like much of a report; more like a short presentation of the release program with snippets of stats.

    A report should detail the age range of these criminals; what the offences were/are; when were they sentenced and how long the sentence was set to be originally.

    It would also be nice for the public to know how many prisoners were released to residences in what districts. It is more than possible to provide these details without exposing the identities since allowing prisoners their privacy seems to be more important than the public knowing details they should know about convicted criminals walking amongst us YEARS before we originally thought we would have to face them again down freedom lane.

    I am aware of at least one of these released Caymanian prisoners who is beating the senses out of the woman he was released to in a household of several children and using drugs – are they not having random drug tests on these men? The kids appear very disturbed and obviously neglected since his release and the woman was finally making some progress in life before he was released and since he got out her life along with the children went downhill very, very quickly.

    Also, the public has not been made aware of how we can or should make reports on these men if one is known to be a nuisance to society during their release (which is hard to do anyway since it is not public knowledge of who has actually been released anyway).

    And if we do not know the exact conditions of release then how can we even know what to report? And why is this also not a public matter where the details of the convict are made public and people can write in supporting or not supporting the inmate’s application for release?

    This program is not at all transparent, these men were removed from society for a reason. If they were sentenced with a certain mental and educational capacity at the time, they will surely be coming right back out with it since the prison offers no proper educational or vocational programs that can enhance these men’s thought-processing to a level required for proper socialization and ability to live in the community where an income stream is needed for food a clothing (versus prison where they have been fed, clothed and entertained for free in return for their crimes against us all).

    Also, how many of these men have found employment? Is maintaining employment a condition of remaining on this release thing? If not, then why not? How can they be expected to positively integrate in to society if not working or if they are unemployable?

    Who is financially supporting them? Do they receive government assistance if not working? Can they read and write? How often do they meet with probation officers? Do officials do home visits and consult with the family and/or individuals who they have been released to stay with? Have they been released back to neighborhoods with other known criminals and/or criminal activity?

    Should the ability to read and write English fluently also be a condition of release? Are they in community programs like anger management and counseling for at least a year after release?

    How will the board know if a condition has been breached? Many of these men began the criminal life from childhood and were caught years later as adults; is it not possible that they can be released, commit crimes and get away with them the same way they did for many years before?

    How can “good behavior” in prison, when all temptation and the fight for food has been taken away, be considered a reason to believe a convicted criminal can be integrated back in to society after serving only 60% of their sentence?

    The reason they went to prison is because they could not function within the community; the ability to function when you are getting free meals, haircuts, housing and clothes does not mean you can come back out in to the streets where only the strong and willing survive.

    Did these men have to go through a job-hunting and job-skills course? Did they have assistance with drafting resumes and cover letters and properly presenting themselves during job interviews?

    This “report” is an absolute joke and leaves many unanswered questions. From what it shows the only real condition for release is to have served 60% (another joke) of a sentence properly provided by a judge who knew darn well why he handed the sentence down in the first place. If the public was consulted with the details of each of these criminals prior to their release (even without names given) that 80%+ would be reduced to about 15%.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    We could cut down massively on cost, repeat offending and police and prosecutor’s time if we simple required all persons convicted of burglary, robbery and a number of other offences to wear GPS electronic monitors during any period of license and for 5 years after the end of any prison sentence. That simple solution works well in many other countries including Scotland and in Scandinavia so why do we require the police to play cat and mouse with the same 200 – 300 career criminals we have?

  4. Anon says:

    Not much of a deterrent then!? Ridiculous to say the least. Whoever came up with, and passed this should be ashamed of themselves. I despair for these wee islands.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I read the Board’s report. Roughly a quarter of the criminals they are putting back on our streets are not Caymanian. Why are they permitted to stay? Why are they not immediately deported so that whatever resources are being spent on monitoring them can be directed to program aimed at crime prevention and reduction. Keeping these criminals in our communities is a way of increasing crime and the public costs associated with it not reducing crime and its costs!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I do not understand how our government can be so stupid as to allow violent criminals out on our streets after serving a fraction of their sentences. I also do no understand why our politicians amended our law so that foreign violent criminals are put back onto our streets.

    We all need to demand that our MLAs reverse the idiotic changes to our laws made in the past few years so that violent criminals stay in prison for the entirety of their sentences and so that foreign nationals convicted of violent crimes are automatically deported at the end of their sentences. End of story

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sentences for multiple offences running concurrently are no deterrent! It encourages idiots to maximize their criminal activity, as the sentences are no more severe than for a single offence! This madness needs to stop, as it is counter productive to reducing crime. If you commit 10 offences of false accounting or embezzlement, you should serve 10 terms of 3 years EACH (or 30 years) for that offence! Not cascading sentences makes a mockery of the law, which criminals exploit to their decided benefit.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for writing that. You are absolutely right. The option that judges now have to impose concurrent sentences should be eliminated by statute particularly in relation to murder, rape, armed robbery, home invasions and other violent crimes.

  7. Anonymous says:

    majority of the inmates approved for early realize are illegal citizens or ones that were on permit. so they just sent them home, to help bring down the countries expense. logical move if you ask me.

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  8. MM says:

    38 prison inmates released last year + increased crime sprees since… hard to not wonder…

    Even if the released inmate is not the actual person who carries out the crime you can believe they have gathered numerous recruits during their new-found freedom.

    So we sentence these men and then after they serve 60% of their prison time we give them a get our of jail free card?

    Not only is this absolutely ridiculous and it seems more like a money-saving, space-making tactic than anything else… but all future and potential criminals will simply think “oh well, if I commit this rape, robbery or murder I will get 10 years and be out in 6”

    And let not the general public forget that a “prison year” is not even a 12-month year; I believe it is 8 months or 9 months? Someone please confirm. So 10 prison years is already only about 7, 12-month years anyway… this whole setup is absolutely ridiculous.

    When they committed the crime the judge saw it fit to lock them away for however long and that sentence should be adhered to regardless!

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    • Diogenes says:

      What is great is you acting like 6 years isn’t a long time
      You think anyone is really committing crimes and thinking “I’ll get 4/10ths off so what the hell”
      Persons who purposefully commit crime especially major crimes
      1 – Generally do not think they will be caught
      2 – Do not regard the law or it’s consequences

      The early release is meant to ensure that persons who do not necessarily need to remain in prison for the entirety of their sentence are released to attempt to rebuild their lives it also saves the government money and opens spaces in our limited prison

      You think the US system is working so well? Harsh punishments little to no reform, they have 5% of the worlds population but more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world including countries more than double or triple their population amount
      They aren’t letting out mass murderers and they certainly shouldn’t be giving repeat offenders early release but otherwise this is what they should be doing
      The countries with low incarceration rates and even lower recidivism are the ones we should try to emulate not the US who continue to fumble with the problem while incentivizing the imprisonment of their citizens with contracts to for-profit institutions

      All this fearmongering is what Cayman is good at, any change whatsoever and we clutch at our pearls and cry out in fear

      Not a popular opinion but life isn’t a popularity contest and I certainly couldn’t care less about public approval when the consensus is immoral, and biased to this degree

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      • Anonymous says:

        Simple fact. Repeat violent offenders are less of a threat to the community when they are in prison than when they are on the streets. Keep them in prison for the entirety of their sentences. A violent repeat offender should never be released back onto our streets after serving a fraction of a sentence.

        While we are on the subject – IMHO – sentencing for violent crime should be based on the number of prior convictions – 5 previous convictions then the sentence is 5 times the maximum sentence for a first conviction. If there are 10 previous convictions then the sentence should be 10 times the maximum for a first conviction.

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      • MM says:

        No, 6 years is not a very long time. It can take the first 5 years of a new business before the business is even considered successful. Banks ask that you have had a relationship for at least 3 years with other financial institutions who are providing a reference letter to you for a mortgage. 6 years is the period we go to primary school; which is a tiny portion of the life expectancy period we would like to live. It takes some people a decade in a low-scale position to simply move to supervisor or manager; no, 6 years is not at all a long time. A 6 year old marriage is still a young one; and I could go on and on. This is our problem in Cayman; short-term planning and no long-term goals (or understanding of what “long-term” is apparently).

        I believe every criminal considers the chance of getting caught; if they did not consider it they would not make provisions to AVOID getting caught. Wearing gloves and face masks or threatening victims not to report are all provisions they take whilst committing crimes in order to AVOID getting caught because they KNOW there is ALWAYS a chance of getting caught.

        Criminals do regard the law, they simply do not respect it because they feel their situation calls for actions beyond what the law allows anyway. When someone commits murder they feel that the murder is necessary considering their situation despite it being illegal; when they commit burglary they believe their situation calls for it despite it being illegal.

        If the early release has been implemented for people “who do not necessarily need to remain in prison for the entirety of their sentence” – then why do the laws call for minimum and maximum sentences for certain crimes; and why did the judge upon hearing all the details of the crime find it necessary to sentence the way they did?

        The USA, as you noted, have created a profit centre around their incarceration programs and I do not feel there is anything at all wrong with that. These men have taken from society, taken our feeling of security and traumatized their victims who will be haunted by the incident for life. If the only way they can give back to society is by going to prison and being worked for profit then I fully support any program and country which has found ways to do this.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The Conditional Release Law needs to be fundamentally amended. The Board should not be allowed to release violent repeat offenders back into our communities after they have served only a fraction of their generally far too short sentences. How many more must die or be injured as a result of early release. The early release of violent criminals has to stop!

    I also question the statistics that the Board has released. All it says is that no one released has so far been recalled for breach of bail conditions. IT FAILS TO MENTION those released who were re-arrested for new violent crimes committed while on license. Do they think that we have such short memories that we cannot recall those arrested after new violent crimes in just the last few weeks ????

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is important. How many have been rearrested? How many charged? All the board is saying is that none are back in jail yet. Weasels.

      • Anonymous says:

        It takes the average court case 2-3 YEARS (or more!) to complete, so these statistics are meaningless. Non-consecutive sentences for multiple offences is lunacy in itself, as there is no incentive not to maximize criminal activity, as the result is no more severe than for a single offence.

    • Anonymous says:

      prisoners with gun charges or for murder don’t have the option for early release

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      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately that is incorrect. Persons convicted of murder no longer serve life. The courts are now required to give almost all convicted murderers early release after they have served a minimum sentence set by the court. Even persons convicted of murder years ago are now having their sentences re-visited and are being given the possibility/probability of early release. The law on gun crimes has also been screwed up in recent years so that these criminals are also released onto our streets after serving a fraction of their sentences. The recent manhunt following the gun murder in Prospect was for a person recently released early for prior gun crimes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who are these violent repeat offender who have been released? Who are the murder victims and injuries directly linked to these early releases?

      I can’t wait to hear this one

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      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you have been off island – try reading articles from a couple of weeks ago regarding the murder in Prospect, the home invasion on Patrick’s Island last summer and numerous other articles.

  10. Anonymous says:

    They just haven’t been caught yet.

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  11. West bay Premier says:

    How would the parole board know that all like Watson will not reoffend .

  12. Anonymous says:

    Names! We want names and a list of their crimes.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Your headline is totally misleading/wrong.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thats why we are where we are, well done….:lets keep our prision empty and our streets….

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      • Anonymous says:

        for the last 30years the prison has never been empty, just saying

      • Anonymous says:

        Except the prison is filled to capacity, so try again

        • Anonymous says:

          So there is a need to increase capacity, and also to take remedial action to stop producing/coddling criminals! We as a society are producing young adults who feel entitled and fear no justice. Parenting is only a word, which has no corresponding responsibility. Our children are being raised on the internet, in the violent games and on the streets instead of in a healthy and loving home environment where they are not GIVEN anything and everything they ask for!

      • Anonymous says:

        Your reply makes no sense. 85% of prisoners have not been released. The headline is fake!

    • Anonymous says:

      They are intended to be clickbait, get used to it. We only come here for the comments.

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