Prison cell photos pop up on social media

A prisoner inside Her Majesty’s Prison at Northward was apparently able to take pictures of himself and other inmates, which later ended up on the social network site Facebook.  

Cayman Islands government officials looking into the matter Friday said they were not immediately able to determine what time the images were taken, but one image did show a prisoner with a cigarette in his mouth making a “peace” sign. Another photo depicted the man sitting on a prison cot.  

The prisoner’s name is not being released by the Caymanian Compass for security reasons.  

“The picture in question shows a systemic failure of proper security measures, but also a failure in adequate rehabilitation,” said Eric Bush, chief officer of the government’s Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.  

Cellular smartphone devices are not allowed in the secured areas of the men’s prison at Northward or the women’s prison at Fairbanks, Mr. Bush said. However, cell phones and smartphones have been recovered by prison officers during the last 18 months, despite prison policy. 

Cell phone usage by inmates is strictly forbidden because of prison security concerns. In December 2010, a full jail cell and strip search of three teenage female prisoners was carried out at Fairbanks simply because of reports that one of them may have obtained a cell phone.  

Mr. Bush said of that search that the layperson might consider that incident overkill, but, in reality, cell phone communications from prisoners are of serious concern.  

“In the hands of individuals [a cell phone] can be used as a method or tool to orchestrate chaos and murder,” he said.  

A recent report done by Her Majesty’s Prison Service in the United Kingdom on the Cayman Islands prison system revealed a number of failures within the organisation and the proliferation of cell phones within the system was one of those concerns identified.  

“These are all matters we are looking to address and will be the priority for the new prison director, who will be taking up [the] post in early June,” Mr. Bush said.  


We’re jamming 

Her Majesty’s Prison Service in the Cayman Islands has been using cell phone jamming equipment at Northward men’s prison since late 2009. It just doesn’t work properly.  

Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams opined in an earlier report issued by her office that “it is virtually impossible to stop cell phone and BlackBerry use in prisons”.  

According to information obtained through an open records request, a cell phone jamming system was installed and has been operational at Northward since December 2009. However, the technology was in use during 2010, when some 74 cell phones were found at the men’s lockup.  

Government officials confirmed in late 2011 that the cell jamming equipment was being at least partly blocked by the proximity of a telecommunications tower next to the Northward site.  

“What we’ve been told is that the tower and cell phone jamming technology are essentially cancelling each other out,” Mr. Bush said in 2011. “We have experienced what they call ‘signal bleeding’ – that’s when the tower signal overpowers the jamming equipment.”  

Prison officials are reluctant to discuss specific problems caused by the duelling technologies. But Mr. Bush said it was clear the cell jamming equipment wasn’t working the way government wished. 

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  1. Here we go again. What is Government waiting for ? They need a new Prison Director. Most of the present in charge at Northward are just left overs from the Dwight Scott regime. Like Scott ,more need to get the boot.

  2. It may sound a bit Communist, but I suggest that Caymanian Police, prison, customs and immigration and also Bank managers and Business people, go to Cuba and learn from them how they are able to run such a tight ship. No Bank robberies, no robbery of restaurants or gas stations. NO PICTURES taken in police stations, immigration or prisons.. Personnel has to go on the outside to use their cell phones during their break times. Prison officers are doing more transactions than prisoners with cell phones. Stop them from using cellphones on the inside and the problem may soon go away.

  3. Here we go again, with this simplicity approach, they get rid of people and fail to address the real issue. No resources, even if they bring 99 persons and with no resources, the same things will happen. The Portfolio is lacking, playing what I understand is a lot of games. Failing to take responsibility , not offering the resources and downplaying the real issue, blaming people when not providing the resources, move the prison from the portfolio. The prison seems to be going backward with the Portfolio. Cell phones are serious . I am hearing that the staffing level is reduced , and searches have come to a virtual halt.

  4. There is nothing wrong with the conditions at the prison, the phones and pot keep everyone calm there is only a problem when compared to other prisons.
    We are in Cayman the best place on earth.
    The buildings are a little bad the electricity works It nicer than some of the homes these people used to live in ..and there all family, brothers keeping brothers. I know many young men in northward and to them its pretty cool watch tv all day, play basketball have BBQ and there is jobs to do and when you get out for a few weeks you get a few dollars in your pocket So whats the problem?
    Many go back on purpose there friends are there.
    It would be nice though if they could get there drivers license while there and some real life job training.

  5. Really..Let them smoke pot and have cell phones..this is not a country club and by no way is a deterrent to keep people out of Jail.That is why the Cayman Islands has one if not the highest recidivism rates in the region…I have worked in 2 prisons In the US with 10 times the populations of the Prison here and did not have this kind of problem.