Prison drug reporting policies reviewed

Cayman Islands government officials said Wednesday they would review policies at Her Majesty’s Prison at Northward after learning it took four days for managers there to notify local police that ganja was found in the kitchen of a prison administrative building.  

Daniel Greaves, deputy director of the territory’s prison system, found a box containing three packages of ganja weighing about 7 ounces at around 9.30pm Thursday night, 9 February in the ‘White House’ – the nickname for the Northward prison administration offices.  

However, prison officials confirmed this week that Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers weren’t notified about Mr. Greaves’ find until 13 February and also noted that the drugs weren’t picked up from the prison grounds until 15 February. “The time from when the drugs were found to when the police were called … took too long,” said Eric Bush, chief officer of the government Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs. The portfolio has oversight of prison system operations. “The ganja was found in the administrative offices, not a secure area,” Mr. Bush said. “[The prison offices are] actually the jurisdiction of the police.”  

Prisons Director Dwight Scott said the response to the ganja find on 9 February was typical of prison operations.  

“The [prisons service] from time to time finds drugs and it’s not unusual for, when drugs are found, to properly seal them and label them accordingly and hand them over to police at different intervals,” Director Scott said. “The police will then collect the same from us. This can be verified by the police department.” 

The difference in this case is the drugs were not found within the prison secure area, but in a prison office, portfolio officials said. Mr. Bush said the Prisons Law does allow sanctions or penalties for prisoners who are caught with drugs in secure areas and that those penalties are usually given at the discretion of the director. He said that doesn’t apply when contraband is found in a non-secure location. “As a result of this [incident], we are actively reviewing prison policies … to ensure police are notified immediately should anything else like this happen again,” Mr. Bush said.  

Ganja being found in Northward prison is nothing new. However, Mr. Greaves has admitted it was rare for drugs to be found within a prison administrative office. In fact, he told the Compass in February that he couldn’t remember it happening previously. Mr. Greaves also said an inmate assigned to clean the administrative offices has been removed pending an investigation.  

About a week after the ganja was found inside the prison ‘White House’, an additional amount of the drug was discovered in the shift commander’s office. The drugs were found inside a cupboard in the back section of the office. The prison officer’s report indicated the suspected contraband was taken to the prison’s security department, which typically handles incidents where drugs are found in secure areas.