Northward Prison is filled to capacity, with 213 prisoners being housed at the men’s prison and at least one individual detained in a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service holding cell in George Town.
The official website for Cayman’s prisons states that the “certified normal accommodation” for Northward is 165 prisoners. A government information officer said that the prison’s maximum capacity is 213.
The issue of the prison’s capacity came up in Summary Court on Monday, when defense attorney Prathna Bodden indicated that a trio of suspects in an importation of ganja case were being held at the police detention facility in the Fairbanks area because Northward did not have any cells immediately available to house them.
The government information officer said that by Tuesday, just one person was being held at the police holding cells.
The prison is currently under some new management, with the arrival of Steven Barrett, the interim prison director, in Cayman last month, after serving as the prison director for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The previous prison director, Neil Lavis, departed in December, and Daniel Greaves served as the acting prison director before the arrival of Mr. Barrett.
Cayman’s prison population has remained rather stable while the population of the country has exploded. Cayman had 227 prisoners in 2000 and a population of 41,687.
At the time, the rate of prisoners per 100,000 population (565) ranked as the second-highest in the world. According to World Prison Brief, Cayman had 222 prisoners in 2017 and a population of 61,559, which worked out to 359 prisoners per 100,000 population. That ranked No. 21 in the world.
A 2012 report conducted by the prison service indicated that the certified national accommodation at Northward was 179 prisoners, and officials told the Cayman Compass in 2016 that Northward’s “safest holding capacity” was 208 prisoners. It is unclear what has changed at Northward to allow for larger capacity.