The Cayman Islands prisons system has processed more than 1,500 individuals in the past five years and about 88 percent of them are Caymanian, according to data obtained via a Freedom of Information request filed with the prisons service last month.
The numbers represent each individual, both male and female, processed through Her Majesty’s Prisons Service in the Cayman Islands from 2011 through 2015.
The figures include convicted prisoners and remand prisoners – those awaiting trial. The prison numbers do not reflect the total inmate population at a given time, only how many people came under the prisons’ jurisdiction during the year. Some of the individuals may be repeat offenders who are processed more than once.
Last year, government records showed a total of 299 people being processed through local prisons. According to the records, 256 – or 86 percent – were Caymanians. Another 43 (14 percent) were non-Caymanians. The breakdown showed that the vast majority of the prisoners (269) were male.
In 2014, out of 313 prisoners processed, 280 – or 89.5 percent – were Caymanians and 33 (10.5 percent) were non-Caymanians. The number of female prisoners processed was very low.
Of the prisoners processed in 2013, 92 percent were Caymanian: 294 out of 320 in total. Foreign nationals made up about 8 percent or 26 of the prisoners processed.
In 2012, 232 of the 257 total prisoners processed (90 percent) were Caymanian, and 25 of 257 were non-Caymanian.
In 2011, the number of Caymanian prisoners processed was 86 percent of the total (312 out of 361); foreigners made up the other 14 percent.
For the five years, the prisons service’s average processing figures were 88.6 percent Caymanians or 1,374 out of 1,550 total. Foreign residents made up the other 174.
Asked to comment on the figures Tuesday, Prisons Director Neil Lavis said the service was doing what it could to lower recidivism rates but had nothing to do with the frequency of arrests or the outcomes of those cases before the court.
The prisons data also shows that prisoner processing numbers have decreased generally since 2010, when they hit a high of more than 400 people going through the system. In 2011, 361 were processed, and last year the number was 299.
The number of foreign nationals going through the local jails fluctuated during the same period. In 2010, there were 53 non-Caymanians processed through the prisons system. That fell to 49 in 2011, and dropped to a low of 25 in 2012. In 2015, 43 non-Caymanians were processed.
There has been a decrease in the number of female prisoners going through the system since 2010, from 60 processed in 2010 to 30 in 2015.
The men’s prison had a resident population of more than 210 inmates as of early April. Mr. Lavis said at the time that it appeared the number of male prisoners had been increasing steadily in recent years with no apparent spikes. The resident number fluctuates on a daily basis and is separate from the annual processing figures.
Prisons Director Lavis told the Cayman Compass that the average prisoner roll for the government’s 2014/15 budget year – last year – was about 188 inmates, including Northward adult men’s prison, Fairbanks women’s prison and juvenile detention facilities.
In the first week of April, that number stood at 224, including the 211 prisoners at Northward and 13 women at the Fairbanks detention facility in George Town.