Prison to use IDC as jails overflow

| 03/07/2018 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service

HMP Northward

(CNS): With more than 220 men crammed into HMP Northward, which is supposed to have a maximum capacity of 212, prison authorities say they will be transferring some low-risk inmates to the Immigration Detention Centre at Fairbanks in an effort to ease the overcrowding at the men’s jail. Northward has been bursting at the seams for some time now and the prison population shows no sign of declining. The prison has been utilising the detention centre but that is also at capacity, and even the women’s facility at Fairbanks is close to its limit of 20 inmates. 

With overcrowding at HMP Northward now causing real security concerns and putting rehabilitation programmes and offender management at risk, Prison Director Steven Barrett said in a press release that the “suitably selected and risk assessed individuals” would be transferred to a section of the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) that would be cordoned off from the largely Cuban population of migrants and asylum seekers already housed there.

However, with no other solution to the capacity problems at the main prison, he said that “the plans to relieve some of the strain on HMP Northward by using the IDC as an extension of the prison is the most viable short-term option available”.

Barrett said work was underway to reshape the prison and transfer inmates from areas most impacted by this overcrowding. He said the current overcrowding was not acceptable or sustainable, and the transfer of prisoners to the IDC could clear around 22 places in Northward.

“Overcrowding has been a prolonged issue here in the Cayman Islands and this has presented a number of challenges for staff and prisoners,” he explained. “Overcrowding can undermine the safety of staff and prisoners, and creates much longer waiting lists for accessing offending behaviour programmes and other rehabilitation activities.”

The director added that it was important to acknowledge the patience of those incarcerated and the work of his staff.

Dax Basdeo, the chief officer for the Home Affairs Ministry, said the transfer of inmates to the centre and the reconfiguration of the prison would not impact the statutory obligations or compromise safety. “We will continue to work diligently towards a permanent solution, while maintaining the welfare and security of inmates, prison service staff and members of the public,” he added.

Basdeo said prison operations at the IDC, such as daily meal times, access to recreational and hygiene facilities, would function as normal, while coordinating schedules around the group of migrants that are currently housed at the facility.

“We are currently reviewing the necessary security measures and protocols that will be implemented in order to make the facility suitable for inmates, while ensuring the privacy and safety of the migrants isn’t compromised,” he stated.

But this could add to the problems that government is already experiencing at the centre, where nine detainees who are claiming asylum began a hunger strike this weekend.

Cuban asylum seekers in Cayman begin hunger strike

The IDC is under the remit of the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration. Wesley Howell, the chief officer of that ministry, said that retrofitting the centre to maintain the strict separation of immigration detainees and prison inmates would relieve the prison overcrowding in the short term and provide  safe and compliant detention facilities for the immigration detainees.

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Category: Crime, Prison

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    so much nonsense in these comments…lets get some fact established:
    what is % of caymanian inmates?
    how many inmates are there for marijuana possesion?

  2. Anonymous says:

    lots of comments here about the prison being filled with people done for marijuana….
    any evidence to back up these claims???

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure I’ve seen in the news where the police mentioned recently that 65 percent of prisoners are in there for serious and violent crime ranging from murder, firearms, robbers, burglars, sexual predators, attempt murderers. The low offender druggies are in drug treatment court not at HMP. We need to stop the Ostrich approach and face reality that some serious and vicious persons are in Northward, thankfully where they should remain.

  4. Anonymous says:

    legalize marijuana. And that would free up plenty of room. Cayman is a god fearing country. Who made Ganga? If you abuse anything it’s bad for you, salt, fat, even water. Drink too much it’s hard on your kidneys. Canada an entire country is legalizing it, in october. 3 states have legalized it in the United states. How long before the rest of the world follows. Personally, i don’t use it. But how much tax payer money and court time is wasted on gangja.

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  5. X $ says:

    A prisoner with a year sentence or less needs to be discharged simply solution to alleviate this situation! Stop creating crisis where there is a solution Cayman.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Make little cayman into a prison island . We put them all over there and have Trump build a wall around it in exchange for space and then he could close Guantanamo bay.

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  7. Elvis says:

    There must be at least twenty to thirty inmates in there could be given community service, some could be sent overseas back to their beloved jamaica for instance,
    Can you believe they sent overstayers to jail t9 overstay some more? Lol
    Consumption of ganja? Must be a few of those,

    Magistrates sit up and read this , you can fix this , don’t say your tied by law either plz

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  8. KMR says:

    Here’s a thought….

    Deport the incarcerated ex-pats back to their home country to serve the remainder of their sentence.

    For locals with the following charges (consumption/possession of ganja, drunk & disorderly conduct etc), make their sentence a fine instead of jailing them

    That should free up a significant amount of space in order to house the real criminals

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Deport, Deport, Deport and stop locking up Caymanians for being lazy and stoned. Human Resources need to put the right people in the right places to deal with the addiction and mental health issues.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Many non-violent offenders who are willing to wear a GPS tags should be confined to their homes not our overcrowded prison. We could reduce the prison population by 50-100 with no threat to the community if we had a modern properly manned GPS monitoring system that allowed for 24/7 tracking.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Why not use all the empty offices they keep building at Camana Bay? Seriously, who owns the concrete company and what have they got on Ken that he keeps building sh*t?!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Lol, daddy’s poorly designed parking lot didn’t fetch as much as you hoped? All those duck eggs going to waste still?

    • Courtney says:

      Alternatively, stop selling the idea of building a larger port and spend the money on building a larger and up to date prison. As I see it, we are really really going to need a bigger prison in a short time to come.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we: 1) stop locking up more people than anyone in the western world (except the USA) and; 2) pay for a proper jail.

    And before all the right-wingers go off on one…the evidence shows it will save you money, reduce crime and thereby make everyone safer.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t have room for rehabilitation so these men are often repeat offenders in and out their whole life. New jail facilities for sure.

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  13. Suggestions says:

    Reduce prison population by –

    1. Build more prison space
    2. Legalize the planting and possession of Marajuana
    3. Home arrest less serious criminal persons (what happened to the ankle braces)
    4. Invest more on rehabilitation programs to lessen repeated offenders
    5. Do more “penal” deportations with a short sentence tagged, and permanently (or, based on the prison time sentence) ban them from coming back to the Cayman Islands.

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    • A. C. Barrett says:

      If you are really serious, enact the use of the death penalty. It will prevent repeat offenders………. and there’s no expense for their food and lodging.

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  14. Spaz says:

    Prisoners with a year or less released to house arrest a solution why are we going with this foolishness solutions cayman not creating problems or a riot .Deport all foreign prisoners for drug related offenses back home.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Just legalise marijuana, and the prison population will drop by half. It’s the jail sentence that ruins the lives, more than the use of the natural plant itself. The plant cures cancer for Christ’s sake.

    Wait for it …as all the self-righteous holier-than-thou’s will chirp in with their bigotry now.

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Cannabis cures cancer ? Bit of a stretch – helps with symptoms, maybe.

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      • Anonymous says:

        oil does cure some type of cancers, at least 6mo strict protocol. Not everyone can obtain and afford the right kind of oil.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, legalize it. But it doesn’t cure cancer… you’re sounding uninformed like the anti ganja dips.

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      • Anonymous says:

        To :9:04 funny how it didn’t cure Bob Marley .

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        • Anonymous says:

          Cancer didn’t kill Bob Marley, the chemo did. Seven intense months of it in fact. Just like chemotherapy has killed countless others.

          “In 2004, the Journal of Clinical Oncology did a massive study on chemo results. They found that chemo was beneficial in just 2.3% of cases, ie, chemo was destructive in 97.7% of cases.

          Chemo usually destroys your immune system and blood counts, so, particularly in stage 4, you are likely to to catch some infection you would normally have fought off, and die from it.”

          Chemotherapy is a 100 year old poison that started out as a World War One mustard gas.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “There is a large body of scientific data which indicates that cannabinoids specifically inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death” explains Dr. David Meiri, the lead researcher on an Israeli project studying 50 varieties of cannabis and its effects on 200 different cancer cells.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t you just love when people thumbs-down scientific fact!? Terribly sorry that the science doesn’t agree with your opinion, mate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You may want to check your stats if you really think half the prison population is there for possession.

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      • Anonymous says:

        A number larger than CIG would like to admit is in jail for drug related offenses.

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        • Anonymous says:

          There’s a difference between possession and drug related offenses.

          Do you really believe that those that make a living by importing or dealing drugs will go get an office job if ganja is legalized and the supply chain is controlled by the government.

          They will just find other ways of hustling to survive irrespective of legality.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry the Clearly the CIGs plan is to send any serious prisoners to the UK, declare independence and then say “no take backsies”

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    • Anonymous says:

      They just need to stop sending caymanians to prison for simple things as driving without license and a spliff

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      • Anonymous says:

        Driving without a spliff should be commended

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah!!!! We already give them dam near no prison for vehicular manslaughter or murder. Just let all locals off for everything. That would about empty the prison.

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