Probation unit misunderstood

Cleviston Hunte believes his profession is one of the most misunderstood in the world.

And he’s probably right.

Mr. Hunte is senior probation officer at the Cayman Islands Government Probation Aftercare Unit.

He and his staff work with offenders who have found themselves in the legal system.

‘We’re one of the most critical and most misunderstood,’ Mr. Hunte said Friday on Cayman 27’s Daybreak show. ‘Basically we are the one agency that works with offenders before they’re sent to prison, when they’re sent and after.’

It is the job of the staff to get people back on the right track.

And to do that, Mr. Hunte said, they need the support of the community.

This is Probation and Parole Week with the theme Community Rehabilitation is Everybody’s Business.

Staff will be on a panel discussion on Rooster 101.9FM and Radio Cayman’s Talk Today. The Caymanian Compass will carry an informative article about the unit each day. Several activities are planned on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and the unit’s pioneers will be recognized in an appreciation programme later in the week.

Mr. Hunte said there is a tremendous cost savings to the community when offenders are rehabilitated.

‘Saving one individual is priceless,’ he said.

There is a cost savings to Government and to the judicial system.

There is also the rebuilding of that individual’s self esteem.

‘They gain self esteem when they can go on and provide for their families,’ he said.

To help rehabilitate offenders, the unit offers several group programmes, including anger and stress management, domestic violence intervention and a parole support group.

Probation officers are in court daily, at prisons, homes, workplaces and in the community in general to help offenders become more productive citizens.

It’s an agency that may be one of the most misunderstood, but staff will be working hard this week to educate the community and get it involved.