Government moves ahead with new prison plans

| 04/08/2022 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service
HMP Northward

(CNS): The PACT Government has begun the process of finding architects for a new prison that will be built on land next to the existing jail at Northward, with a target completion date of 2027. A Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ) has been issued for bidders interested in designing the new facility. The aim is to build a prison that consolidates all the inmate groups, including women and young offenders. According to the RFSQ documents, it will be built on a 12-acre secure zone of crown land next to the Northward site. The facility will have the capacity for 250 inmates with the potential to double that figure if necessary.

The current prison is dilapidated and has been condemned by the UK prison inspectorate as not fit for human habitation. Despite efforts to repair and reconstruct areas of the jail and to improve security over the years, both HMP Fairbanks and HMP Northward are insecure and not fit for purpose. Northward is constantly overcrowded, with many more inmates at any given time than the maximum capacity of around 210 men.

Finding the budget for a new prison, which is never a popular policy, has proven difficult. However, the PACT Government has committed to investing in the costly project and rebuilding the prison over the next five to six years. Although the estimated cost has not yet been stated, past estimates have suggested that the project would be in excess of $150 million.

The decision appears to have been based on an outline business case conducted by Bould consultants sometime in 2020/2, though this document has not been made public. CNS has made both a media request for information and an FOI request for the document that forms the basis for these next steps and should outline the policy, motivation and justification for the investment.

Documents placed on the government’s procurement site for the qualification submissions indicate that the goal is to house every person held in the custody of HM Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) on one site and then demolish both Fairbanks women’s prison and the current Northward men’s prison.

“The new build will ensure there is a sustainable prison estate with the capacity to safely and humanely respond to future population and service needs,” officials said on the site.

The new prison will be designed to provide levels of accommodation and security based on current UK best practices. The documents also show that the government wants the facility to have full access for people with disabilities and, as well as accommodating all existing prisoners and staff, provide for added capacity for future growth.

The first phase will include a new enhanced entrance and processing area for visitors, and areas for maintenance, healthcare, reception and discharge, as well as the kitchen. It will also have faith, education and physical education areas and the accommodation for female prisoners, young offenders and those held in care and separation.

When that work is done, those inmates will move in while the second phase, building the men’s cells, gets underway. A final phase will include a sports pitch and the demolition of the existing accommodation.

The lead architects chosen will be responsible for the technical design in compliance with UN standards for the safe incarceration of men, women and children in categories A to D by 2027, in accordance with the Nelson Mandela Rules (regarding the rights of all prisoners) and the Bangkok Rules (which deal with the treatment of women prisoners), the tender documents state.

Related CNS articles:
Prison still ‘squalid’, says UK inspector
CIG admits prison needs major cash injection (2015)

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Category: Crime, Prison

Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    More crime = more prosecutors, more prison guards, more police officers, more magistrates and justices, more security guards.

    Raise your hand if you think these workers really interested in lowering crime.

    • Sad news for Caymanian children says:

      More expats and diswnfranchised Caymanians. Never seen a Jamaican police officer in
      arresting another Jamaican. Why?

  2. Prison Insanity says:

    I remember the last big prison material robbery not one soul was ever held accountable for that apartments and homes were built nothing more was said contracts given to staff connect friends and family companies errry ting Kriss aaaaaaah boy Cayman same old same old .

    • Anonymous says:

      When our prisoners were sent to Jamaica, going to prison was a real deterrent to crime.
      If a new comfortable prison is built, going to prison will be ‘no big ting’ at great expense to the community.
      Prison should be a punishment, not a relocation to more comfortable living conditions.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We should ask to buy some land in the Isle of Pine and build a penal colony their. Recidivists and murders would lose Caymanian citizenship and would be required to stay in Cuba.

  4. Anonymous says:

    More Permits
    More Prisons
    More Court buildings and fancy conferences
    More Police Stations.
    Real Opportunities
    Environmental protection

  5. Anonymous says:

    A new prison maybe needed. But crying out loud, please build the Mental Facility first!

    I can’t understand the hesitation on building the mental facility as it is obvious Cayman is in need of such a facility like yesterday.

    • Anonymous says:

      The mental health facility is a shit show of a design and will highly unlikely ever be finished. Government has broken that project from start to finish.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Getting ready to stock those prison bunks for the hungry man who steals a loaf of bread to feed his family.
    Cayman is fundamentally twisted, keep the prison a dump as it should be and use the money for to better law abiding citizens.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, all those hungry men stealing a loaf. Strangely enough, never seem to see any press on that. Plenty of men stealing cash, bit like that guy holding up Food 4 Less (and not stealing any food) – guess its easier to steal cash because you can then use it to buy food – or other things.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So, public school results keep slipping while new prisons get built! And the band played on…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    2027 Panton pipe dream

  9. Anonymous says:

    I know that CNS loves a good FOI request, but in circumstances where HMIP has found that the existing prison is not fit for human habitation, is insecure, and not fit for purpose, one might think that that the motivation and justification for the investment are rather blindingly obvious.

    CNS: So in your head, the expensive report by the consultants just says, ‘Yes, we need a new prison.’ Twit.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll bet the report was expensive indeed.
      Any idea how much it cost..?

    • Anonymous says:

      No. I would expect that it says in summary ” HMIP has found that the existing prison is not fit for human habitation, is insecure, and not fit for purpose, and therefore we need a new prison”.

      But even if it doesn’t, who cares? In light of the HMIP findings, the case for a new prison makes itself.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Are they making more space for them selfs?????

  11. Anonymous says:

    there is no easy/cheap solution to this.
    throw people in cages and they will come out like animals.

    • Anonymous says:

      With that kind of money of $150 million with so few inmates why not pay a country like Canada to house the 250 inmates. Do the math it’s bonkers how costly per inmate it is! Ship ‘‘em to Winnipeg the cold weather alone would be an attitude adjustment

  12. Anonymous says:

    another cig pie in the sky project…..which will sonn be deferred due to lack of funds due to upcoming recession.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Agree we need this but where is the plan to reduce prison population over time through better education, training, early years intervention ? And don’t tell me DCFS has it under control because they are collapsing under the strain

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm, why not use immigration controls? That would take out a third of the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        25% of the problem according to the ESO. Before you ran into problems with right of access to their Caymanian family members, children etc.

  14. BLVCKLISTED says:

    The current prison is overfull with a capacity of 210 people… And the new prison is meant to hold that population, as well as the women from Fairbanks, and young offenders, and factor in the general population growth of the island as well, with a capacity of 250 people?.. (Yes, I saw the note about the “potential to double that figure” or whatever).

    I’m guessing this will turn out just like any other building project in Cayman (new JGHS campus for example); costing double it’s original estimate both financially and time wise, while still miraculously not being fit for purpose.

    Will check back in a decade.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Every government want to go down in history

    • Anonymous says:

      nope..not in cayman….
      getting to be an mla is like winning lottery and that’s all they care about.

  16. Anonymous says:

    A society is judged on how it treats its prisoners and its elderly population.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Swell, but who decided that housing women and children in the same facility as men was a good idea? I can only imagine the headlines we will see in the future. At th same time, why not remodel the old facility and put the Cubans in it.

    CNS: Just because they are all housed in the same facility doesn’t mean they have access to each other. I imagine it will be something like HMP Peterborough in the UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only way of successfully remodelling the current facility is to demolish it: it is way beyond any sensible hope of renovation.

      • Anonymous says:

        “.. and then demolish both Fairbanks women’s prison and the current Northward men’s prison”

        Reading comprehension not your strong suit eh.

        • Anonymous says:

          Erm, the original poster suggested that the facility could be remodelled for Cubans. The response was to that, not the main article.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS:I’m glad you’re so confident. But why if they have no access to one another, would you want to put them in one place? I suspect the answer is that some parts of the facilities can be used by different groups at different times of day, separately, at least theoretically. Hence my concern.

      CNS: I really don’t know. That’s why it would be nice to have the consultants’ report. But as usual, the government thinks it’s better to keep these things secret.

    • One of the stamps says:

      They need to lift a design from the uk and build it here simple. No one here is capable of building what is needed, disaster and waste of money written all over this project by no doubt a bunch of people with no prison sense


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