Prison called ‘lax’
Comments made by Cayman’s Commissioner of Corrections and Rehabilitation have sparked outrage among Sabrina Schirn’s family members who have told the Caymanian Compass that they believe the prison system’s security failures are directly to blame for her killing.
Police have arrested a 38-year-old prison inmate on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of the 21 year old George Town woman. The prisoner’s name is not being released by this newspaper because he has not been charged.
Sabrina’s decomposed body was found in a remote area of East End, Grand Cayman on 17 March by family members searching the area for her. She had disappeared six days earlier after leaving her workplace.
Royal Cayman Islands Police officers investigating the case have said the prison inmate they arrested was participating in a work detail on a prison-owned farm located adjacent to the land where Sabrina’s body was found.
Sabrina’s dad, John Schirn, told the Caymanian Compass Monday that he believes supervision and security measures taken to protect the public against the work programme prisoners were lax at best.
‘I can see areas where the farm is linked onto other properties where there’s no fencing,’ Mr. Schirn said. ‘Being a 200 acre farm, it seems to me very lax to have eight or ten prisoners with just two (prison) officers.’
A post-mortem on Sabrina’s body found she had suffered several sharp force injuries from an edged weapon, possibly a machete. Prisoners who participate in the work programme at the farm are sometimes given machetes to use in their work.
‘I’m troubled by the fact that the prisoners are able to have full use of tools which could be used as weapons, and the aspect that they’re able to roam fairly free,’ Mr. Schirn said.
Corrections Commissioner Bill Rattray said last week that only prisoners considered ‘lower risk’ individuals are allowed off prison grounds to participate in the work detail at the farm.
‘It is a large area and therefore, just as a teacher in a classroom can’t have his or her eyes on every single pupil at every single moment, nor is it possible for every officer at the farm to be able to see every single prisoner at every part of the working day,’ Mr. Rattray said during a Friday press conference.
‘If they thought that they were unable to keep these guys under complete control, they shouldn’t have been there in the first place,’ Mr. Schirn said.
‘One of the things I would like to see is that, before the programme does go on is that they do a complete investigation into the security that they have down there and also the conditions under which the prisoners are allowed to work,’ he said. ‘It basically shows that anyone who drives that street or who lives in the area is prone to be a victim.’
Mr. Rattray said there has been a security review of each work detail prisoner on the farm since Sabrina’s killing.
Read more in Wednesday’s Caymanian Compass….