Prison service gets new officers

None of the new recruits are Caymanians

Five new prison officers have been hired at Her Majesty’s Prison at Northward. 

Of the new officers hired, four are from Jamaica and one from Belize. In a response to questions from the Caymanian Compass, prison officials qualified the new officer’s as Caymanian to the degree that “two are married to Caymanians and possess permanent residency, two are dependents of government contracted workers,” read a statement from Her Majesty’s Prison Service Detail Office Supervisor Maxine Spalding-Passley. 

“The new officers have adjusted well; likewise prisoners to the officers,” she noted. 

Mrs. Spalding-Passley said Caymanians did apply for the job but did not say why none were chosen for the prison officer positions. 

When asked why the decision was made to hire non-Caymanians Mrs. Spalding-Passley said she was unable to provide an answer.  

A job fair to recruit new prison officers was held at Her Majesty’s Prison at Northward on Friday, 14 October.  

During the undertaking, several attendees learned about why a career as a prison officer would be a good choice; among them being job security, flexible working conditions, generous leave entitlements, competitive salary, as well as paid training and promotional and career development opportunities.  

“You are here to put structure into people’s lives and give them purpose and meaning, which means you’ll be involved in every aspect of a prisoner’s life,” the potential recruits heard from prison Information Officer Ricardo Lashley during the recruitment drive, which was attended by the Caymanian Compass last year. He said duties vary depending on the security level of the prisoners being dealt with.  

As part of the assessment and training period, new officers were expected to complete eligibility and identification checks, an employment profile assessment, a selection panel interview, a medical assessment, a fitness assessment, a criminal history screening and a background check.  

Once potential officers made it through the selection stage, they were placed in what is referred to as the Prison Officer Pool, from which they were then considered for employment. The recruits then took up a role as probationary prison officers. A paid nine-week training period, which is part of a two-year entry level training programme, requires them to satisfy specific entry training and performance requirements.  

The starting salary for prison officers is CI$2,606 per month with a housing benefit of CI$125. New officers receive annual leave of 18 working days for the first years. This increases to 23 working day after seven years. Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service is one of the Island’s largest employers with nearly 175 employees. Responsibilities of the service include taking care of all adult and juvenile offenders in custody, as well as see court orders are followed and community standards upheld.  

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