Mrs. Range deserves honour

I would like to congratulate Claira Juanita Range for being awarded the Badge of Honour in recognition for her salient contributions to Her Majesty’s Prison Service and the Cayman Islands Community.

Claira has given over 33 years of unsullied and eminent service to the Cayman Islands at Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

Within the Prison Department, her name is synonymous with integrity and patriotism. Mrs. Range, the only female to aspire to the hierarchical echelon as a deputy director, made her strides to that post through hard work, dedication and resilience. Her maturity, high sense of responsibility and resourcefulness earned her the respect, which her male counterparts presently and in the past have not been attributed. Her position until today is still historical in the Cayman Islands.

During her 33 years in the Prison Service she was to many a mother, counsellor, teacher, administrator, rehabilitator, manager and prison officer and in every case brought lustre and honour to the organisation and has inspired inmates and colleagues alike. She has made many avenues for emulation to all who would like to follow in her footsteps.

Her wit, sense of humour and superb humanitarian skills always reflected the highest vintage. Many have found invaluable and impeccable assets in this unique and outstanding woman. For this is what she is in every way.

Mrs. Range has impacted the lives of many Caymanians through her work and her personal attributes. During the past prison riot, she played a very crucial part in bringing back normalcy and calmness to the ruined prison service. She sacrificed her family and personal life by spending most of her time assisting in maintaining order, calm and giving directions to resurrect the fallen prison service.

Mrs. Range is a pioneer of the Eagle House Young Offenders Institution where she has continuously worked in close partnership with the Cayman Islands community and others in the Criminal Justice System to achieve common objectives. During her tenor as director, she obtained best value from the resources available using research to ensure effective correctional practice, promoted diversity, equality of opportunity and combat unlawful discrimination and ensured all staff has the right leadership, organisation, support and preparation to carry out their work effectively. Mrs. Range has successfully worked with probation, police and other local services taking an integrated approach to managing offenders; getting drug dependent offenders off drugs and into recovery; getting offenders into jobs and with somewhere to live so that they can pay their own way; and tackling mental health problems.

Through her insight and quest for the rehabilitation of female prisoners, she has been involved in promoting and developing promising network of prison and community provision for women, with probation and the voluntary sector working closely together. These projects provide effective rehabilitation in Fairbanks Female Prison and the community by tackling a range of problems, including drug and alcohol dependency. This is combined with education and interventions aimed at helping women offenders come to terms with issues such as physical and sexual abuse. Although these programmes and network of provision has been designed in order to divert women from crime and custody the learning has also been applied to male offenders, particularly in a coordinated approach to those with more complex issues underlying their offending. She is considered as a mother to both adult inmates, juvenile and young offenders and staff alike. She gives her support through guidance, affection and her personal resources to assist anyone in need.

Mrs. Range has worked closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Education Department and the private sector to promote employment and learning services for offenders. She has consistently fought to ensure that those offenders who have been punished show a willingness to reform and are able to access services that will include: reformed and revitalised training that involves employers and education providers working closely with senior prison managers to tailor their training to the needs of the labour market; the roll-out of a skill based and distance education across the prison estate – a cost-effective and secure means of delivering individualised learning and employment services for prisoners that can also be available after their release; and a greater number of employer-led training workshops to increase offenders’ work skills and establish working relationships with employers prior to release

Through her personal sacrifices she has helped many young and middle age persons to:

Acquire education and training

Job and course opportunities

Housing and living accommodations

Guidance and counselling

Healthy and sustainable relationships

Rehabilitation

Employment on release

It is remarkable, her love and interest in youths. She would make every effort to ensure that youths entering the penal system are given the best care possible, often using her own financial resources to assist the youths and parents. She ensures that youths are provided with the necessary interventions in through care and after care often through her own means of acquiring these services whether by asking persons in the community to assist or her making personal commitments where possible.

Having worked with Mrs. Range for many years, I have come to recognise and respect her contributions to the development of prison service, her positive effects upon the lives on many men and women and the personal sacrifices she makes to the development of people through financial and other means.

I did not wish to revel but to acknowledge the efforts and commitment of all those in our society who want our prisons to be places where good things happen.

Marvin Simpson

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