Inmates at Cayman Islands men’s prison Northward will soon have access to a new sports rehabilitation program aimed at training participants in football refereeing and coaching.

The partnership between the Cayman Islands Football Association and the prison service will provide access to internationally recognized qualifications and the opportunity to improve athletic skills under the guidance of CIFA volunteers.

The 16-week program aims to provide participants with transferable skills when they reintegrate into the community, said custodial manager Richard Barton.

“The goal is to provide prisoners with pathways to reintegrate into community life in healthy environments,” he said.

Employment in sports can require years of formal training, Mr. Barton added. He hopes this program will provide a foundation for men interested in the sector.

To achieve CONCACAF and FIFA licensing, the men will also need to complete first-aid and child abuse prevention certifications. Mr. Barton said these certificates should provide extra support when the men seek employment.

After the course, participants will have the opportunity to continue learning through additional training and certification options.

“This program provides the foundation for the men to get involved in refereeing, coaching or playing in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Barton said.

“Elements of the training are definitely transferable and could assist inmates with securing employment with a wide range of employers on release.”

The program will start in June with a group of 15 men who are currently being screened for eligibility by CIFA to ensure they do not pose a safety risk to players or other volunteers. Graduates will not be eligible to serve as official coaches or referees until after their release.

To launch the partnership, Northward inmates and Prisons Director Neil Lavis presented CIFA President Lee Ramoon with prison-built benches and picnic tables for the CIFA Centre for Excellence in Prospect. During the May 4 meeting, CIFA officials delivered football equipment and toured the prison’s sports facilities.

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