A detailed examination of the Cayman Islands’ prison system and its related services seeks to reduce the high risk of re-offending among prisoners who are released back into society.
The exercise, the ‘Assessment of Rehabilitation Needs’, is being led by the government’s Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs and conducted by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.
The Canadian delegates are Deputy Chief Judge Allan Lefever of the Provincial Court of Alberta, and Assistant Deputy Minister JoAnn Miller-Reid of Ontario’s Youth Justice Services Division.
Their advisory role includes delivering a plan with specific recommendations for prison system improvements which, if accepted and put into practice will enable government to budget appropriately, achieve maximum value for money and enhance inter-agency collaboration and asset-sharing, according to portfolio officials.
Reducing recidivism is also one of the four objectives of the Crime Reduction Strategy launched recently by Governor Duncan Taylor and Premier McKeeva Bush.
“Nothing is off-limits,” said portfolio Deputy Chief Officer Kathryn Dinspel-Powell, who is coordinating the project. Community members and organisations – from youth and drug counsellors to churches – are contributing to the overall aim of restoring community safety by reducing repeat offending.
“Prison management was reviewed five years ago with renewed focus on rehabilitation and recidivism,” Mrs. Dinspel-Powell said. “However, there remains a need for broader assessment of rehabilitation, incorporating related agencies.”
The Cabinet Office representatives on the team are Policy Coordination Unit Director Robert Lewis and Policy Analyst Garfield Ellison. The coordination unit is charged with implementation of the government’s crime reduction strategy.
Cayman’s per-capita prisoner population is one of the highest worldwide. The annual prison budget is now $14 million.
The Canadian consultants are expected to complete their review by mid-December.
The Institute of Public Administration of Canada is a nongovernmental organisation founded in 1947 and is dedicated to excellence in the theory and practice of public administration and management.
Institute representative Ms Miller-Reid led the transformation of the youth justice system in Ontario and remains focussed on the youth justice mission of having a positive impact on children and at-risk youth.
Judge Allan Lefever’s duties include coordinating Justices of the Peace; assisting the Chief Judge in establishing specialised courts, such as a Mental Health Court; and working with Crown Prosecutors to make the criminal justice system more accessible and efficient.