Probation Unit explained

The Cayman Islands Government Probation Aftercare Unit has designated this week as Probation and Parole Week, Community Rehabilitation is Everybody’s Business. The Caymanian Compass will include daily articles about the unit to help the community fully understand what the service provides.

The overall focus of the Probation Aftercare Unit is to assist in reducing the incidence and impact of crime through education and rehabilitation. The Unit’s Mission Statement is as follows:

The Probation Aftercare Unit is committed to the implementation of the rehabilitative mandate of the Court and Parole Board through:

• Social work intervention,

• Quality supervision

• Innovative programmes (and)

•Treatment plans;

to assist our clients to be more productive citizens while reducing the level of offending behaviours and promoting public safety.

To achieve this mission, it is imperative that the Probation Unit work in conjunction with various agencies, such as Caribbean Haven, Mental Health, Children & Family Services, Prison, and Family Support Unit (to name a few), to best meet the overall needs of the client.

Unit Services:

Services of the Probation Unit are in the form of:

• 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 persons convicted of an offence/s, in the community.

• Provision of Through-care and After-care services to Prisoners and their families.

• Education and awareness through various groups, and presentations.

The supervision of offenders in the community is a core responsibility of the Probation Unit. Based on the level of risk and suitability, persons convicted of offences may be supervised in the community on court orders and parole licenses. Court orders may consist of probation orders, attendance orders, and/or community service orders.

Such orders allow for persons to obtain the necessary support, guidance and counseling while remaining in the general community.

Also with community service orders, being a non-paying work programme, organized and supervised through the Probation Unit, various non-profitable organizations and the community on a whole may benefit from the service of offender as a way of making reparation for their offending against the community.

Further to the court orders, persons having been sentenced to prison may be eligible after serving one third of their sentence for early release from prison through parole.

Again such an option is based on a rehabilitative approach, which allows persons to be reintegrated into the general community through supervision and guidance.

As a part of the supervision process and as a form of education, support and prevention the Probation Unit facilitates various ongoing groups such as Anger Management, Domestic Violence Intervention (for the perpetrator), Stress Management, Time to Change, and Parole Support Group.

Probation officers are present in the courts, prisons, homes, work place and general community, in collaboration with other agencies; assisting offenders in become more productive citizens.

In addition to the services in Grand Cayman, from September 2005 there has also been a full time probation officer stationed in Cayman Brac.