Scott retires, prison improvements promised
Although government officials called the retirement of Prisons Director Dwight Scott an “amicable resolution”, it was clear for a number of months that change within the Cayman Islands prisons system was coming.
Facing a soon-to-be released United Kingdom prisons inspectorate review, which is said to paint a damning picture of the Cayman Islands prisons system, the government announced Tuesday that Mr. Scott would officially retire in February.
“From what we know of the [UK] report, it has identified many serious issues at and within the prison system,” said Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush.
Mr. Bush said government officials met with prison staff on Tuesday to discuss Mr. Scott’s retirement and some of the matters identified in the UK report, which is expected to be released in early January.
For the moment, Deputy Prisons Director Dan Greaves will act in the director’s role while a recruitment process is completed, according to a statement from Mr. Bush.
Natalie Joseph Caesar will take on the deputy director’s role.
Mr. Scott will be taking accrued annual leave up through his planned retirement date of 9 February, Mr. Bush’s statement said.
Mr. Scott was appointed as director of prisons in 2004 and has worked in the local prisons system for 23 years.
Mr. Bush said Tuesday that the prisons service would be guided in the coming months by recent consultant reports from Cambridge University, the Institute of Public Administration in Canada and the upcoming release of the UK prisons inspectorate review.
One thing the government intends to do is seek out expertise in Britain to help straighten out various issues within the prisons system. Mr. Bush said an interim prisons director would be selected to work in Cayman for a number of months to get the prison service on the right track. He hoped that individual could be in place by early next year.
“We’ve now had these reports, but rather than let them sit on a shelf and gather dust we’re actually going to do something about it,” Mr. Bush said.
Although it was only in September 2011 that Deputy Governor Franz Manderson declared Mr. Scott was doing a “great job” at the prison service, a number of incidents have marred his tenure during the past 18 months.
Some of those incidents include:
The strip search of three teenage prisoners at Fairbanks women’s prison in December 2010 that was done in order to find two cell phones – one of which was in plain sight in the prison cell block.
A government financial audit that found numerous examples of inadequate record keeping for expenses and mismanagement of prison construction projects
More than $1 million spent on a prison cellblock that was never completed
An incident where ganja was found within the prison administration building. Evidence in the case wasn’t collected for days.
Another incident where ganja was found within a guard office.
An incident where a prison officer was beaten up trying to retrieve ganja that was thrown over the fence at Northward.
A report by the Canadian institute that found a “lack of transparency” and public confidence in day-to-day operations at the prison.
A case where a “low-risk” prison inmate left the Northward compound and returned an hour later with a woman.