Prison relying on spiritual rehab programmes

| 11/10/2019 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service
Prisoners at HMP Northward

(CNS): With early release for prisoners serving time in local jails now directly dependent on their rehabilitation rather than merely good behaviour, as was the case in the past, HM Cayman Islands Prison Service has been expanding the menu of voluntary programmes it offers. Several of these programmes are based in spirituality, with 73 prisoners having graduated so far this year from the Gospel-based The Prisoner’s Journey and 183 from the Sycamore Tree Project since it started three years ago.

Following the passage of the Conditional Release Law, all prisoners given jail sentences of more than one year must serve 60% of the term before they can appear before the release board. A ccording to the law, at that point prisoners must demonstrate their rehabilitation and convince the board that they will be able to stay out of trouble.

There are many challenges for prisoners returning to the community, from drug addiction and mental health problems to the lack of work available for them. And because Cayman is a very small jurisdiction, it is hard for ex-convicts to stay away from previous criminal associates or previous bad habits.

But officials believe the programmes on offer will help the inmates re-adjust to a crime free life. During a recent graduation ceremony for the two religious-based programmes offered by Prison Fellowship International, Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers said these were two of many programmes that HMCIPS provides.

The programmes “enable them to reflect on past behaviour and practice new ways of thinking and behaving in preparation for future re-entry to the community and, hopefully, a life that is productive and crime free”, Rivers added.

Congratulating the successful inmates, she urged other prisoners to take advantage of the many opportunities available that could have a positive impact.

While The Prisoner’s Journey programme is about Christian teaching and the inmates’ own religious choices, the Sycamore Tree Project is based on restorative justice, looking at the consequences of crime, where inmates explore responsibility, confession and repentance, forgiveness, making amends and reconciliation.

“It is truly inspirational to see inmates go on this journey of awareness,” Prison Chaplin Cathy Gomez said. “I am extremely proud of all our graduates for embracing these teachings as they continue along their path to rehabilitation.”

Prison Director Steven Barrett explained the importance of rehabilitation to the system.

“One of the purposes of detention is to offer individuals a chance to come to terms with the decisions they made and the circumstances that brought them to committing their crime as well as the impact their crime has had on others,” he said. “It’s important to us that those in our custody are provided with the tools they need to make informed choices about their lives going forward. These programmes are very challenging but also offer inmates hope about a transformed future.”

The prison is also planning to take part in the PFI’s Angel Tree Programme, where church volunteers engage with prisoners’ families in the lead up to Christmas. Around 80 gifts per year are either distributed to the children of prisoners in the community or given to them when they visit their parents in prison during the holidays.


Share your vote!


How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Category: Local News

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Prisoners will do anything to get out.
    Education would actually help.

    14
  2. Anonymous says:

    This is great news! May God’s will be done!

    9
    10
  3. Anonymous says:

    “Spiritually” LOL. That’s code for “fundamentalist Christianity.” How about we start a Scientology or Islam rehab program in our prison too? Why not? No more or less logic/evidence for them. Plus government has a duty to be fair to all religions, right?

    (Trading one drug for another.)

    #lame

    10
    10
  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is a Christian Community. If our Christian based programes can save just one of our inmates coming out of prison each month then it is worth it. There will always be re-offenders, but the Prison Ministry is doing an excellent job. Keep up the good work.

    For those of you who are offended by our Christian values you have a home to go back to, if not find another Country. Dont stay here and make youself and others miserable..

    16
    9
    • Anonymous says:

      Sometimes it’s good to reflect on the position of our own hearts and acknowledge that the naysayers are loved by God and as such should receive the mercy and grace that He has given us whom He has redeemed. This kind of “go back where you come from” attitude does not reflect the love that God wants us to be a manifestation of. The battle to renew our mind is real. I catch myself often. May He have mercy on us all.

      6
      1
  5. Anonymous says:

    God help us all.

    7
    5
  6. Elvis says:

    The chaplaincy works tirelessly at Northward prison offering a range of programs and challenges which inmates embrace, it is not only these programs they have to complete to reach home or pass go and collect 200 dollars, it’s much more than that, this is part of a very well structured rehabilitation system that needed to be in place 20 years ago for your people. Sooner or later these men and women are going to be living alongside us all in the community. Embrace, don’t hate, well done to all involved in this program. Especially ms G

    17
    1
  7. Anonymous says:

    Can we please just ensure that every deportable prisoner, including those who can have their status revoked, are driven straight to the airport upon release. There is no need for us to be running any rehabilitation experiment on them.

    24
    7
    • Anonymous says:

      People are people brother. Don’t let an imaginary line on a map be an excuse for not being humane.

      6
      5
      • Anonymous says:

        Nothing to do with lines on maps. All to do with protecting the Caymanian people and doing what is best for Cayman. Rarely does someone going to Northward not already have a criminal background. There is no need for us to have foreign criminals amongst us. The laws are clear. We simply fail to follow them.

        5
        3
  8. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is a Christian country and it chooses to embrace Christian values.
    Why did you not emigrate from the UK, Canada or the USA to Saudi Arabia?

    Leave the culture alone and do not infect it with the ideology that forced you to leave your own country.

    To the people that are working with our less fortunate. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and efforts. God sees you.

    23
    14
  9. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, this kind of rehab option is way too easy to fake your way through. Be interesting to see what the re-offending figures are.

    16
    6
  10. Moi says:

    Your having a laugh, right?

    15
    5
  11. Anonymous says:

    Invite Eckart Tolle. His is not associated with any religion or sect, clan etc. What he teaches is simple but effective.

    3
    8
    • Anonymous says:

      Eckart Tolle? Nooooooo. He’s just Depak Chopra without a chin. He’s a nonsense peddling guru who extracts money from the poor goofs Tony Robins missed.

      4
      1
    • Anonymous says:

      While you’re at it why don’t you invite Rajneesh back from the dead.

      4
      1

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.