There’s a small office above Wendy’s on Walker’s Road that most people aren’t aware of.
More than a dozen people work hard every day, offering help, counselling and guidance.
They’re the staff of the Cayman Islands Government Probation Aftercare Unit.
And beginning Sunday they’re going to make every effort they can to let you know who they are and what they do.
‘This next week is extremely, extremely important because it allows the public to become more familiar with our services,’ said Manager Teresa Echenique-Bowen. ‘The role of the Probation office is important in regard to the reintegration and rehabilitation of offenders into the community.
‘It also allows us an opportunity to provide the public with information about our restructuring.’
The overall focus of the Probation Aftercare Unit is to assist in reducing the incidence and impact of crime through education and rehabilitation.
Its mission is to enforce the rehabilitative mandate of the Court and Parole Board through social work intervention, quality supervision, innovative programmes and treatment plans.
The staff’s job is to help offenders become more productive citizens while reducing the level of offending behaviours and promoting public safety.
To achieve its goals, the unit works with various agencies, such as Caribbean Haven, Mental Health, Children and Family Services, the prison and Family Support Unit.
‘The more support we get from the public the better we are able to work with offenders to provide preventive measures,’ Mrs. Echenique-Bowen said.
The theme for next week is Community Rehabilitation.
‘Everybody does play a role with regards to rehabilitation,’ she said.
The Probation Aftercare Unit falls under the authority of the Ministry of Health and Human Services, which as increased the probation office’s staff.
Mrs. Echenique-Bowen also sees next week as a stepping stone to developing the unit into a department because of the important role it plays in the community.
‘We’re growing significantly with the help of the Ministry of Health and Human Services,’ she said.
Part of that growth includes adding a unit on Cayman Brac in September 2005.
Services the unit performs are:
• Pre-sentencing reports to the Courts and background reports and assessment to the Parole Board to assist in making decisions on case disposal.
• Supervision of people convicted of one or more offences.
•Provision of through-care and after-care services to prisoners and their families.
•Education and awareness through various groups and presentations.
Throughout next week the community will be reminded of the Probation Aftercare Unit’s work through radio and television programmes and daily information in the Caymanian Compass.
Community Rehabilitation Week will end next Friday with an open day at the Brac office and a reception in Grand Cayman where presentations will be made the unit’s pioneers.