The Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs announced on Tuesday that Lisa Malice had been appointed as the director of the Department of Community Rehabilitation.
Previously, she had been the deputy director of the department and had been the acting director since September 2017. She has worked in the department for 15 years.
The Department of Community Rehabilitation provides community-based supervision and rehabilitative services to adult offenders, primarily upon the instruction of the Courts and Conditional Release Board.
Malice said that while studying at the University of South Florida to earn a bachelor’s in social work and a minor in sociology, an internship opportunity with a local jail sparked her passion to work with offenders.
“I wanted to better understand offending behaviour, why people make some of the choices that they make and be a part of helping them make positive changes in their lives,” she said in a press release.
Immediately upon finishing her degree, she was presented with the opportunity to work with Cayman’s Department of Community Rehabilitation.
Malice said when she first joined the department in 2004, it had only recently become a separate entity from the Department of Children and Family Services. “At that time, we were a small team of probation officers and community service coordinators, and within a few years the unit became a department and has since grown significantly to a team of almost 50 staff members.”
According to the government press release, throughout her time with DCR, Malice has helped “establish a roadmap for the development of prison and community-based rehabilitation programmes that aim not only to reduce recidivism, but also support the social reintegration of prisoners into the community”.
She credited the advancement of the department to the work of its former director Teresa Echenique, who now serves as the chief officer for the Ministry of Community Affairs, and described her colleagues as “unsung heroes”, stating that each person within the organisation “is passionate about our mission and purpose and we share the common belief that we can be instruments of change in the lives of offenders, victims, families, and our community”.
She said Echenique’s “vision for DCR to play a critical role in public safety by providing effective services to offenders that help them live a productive and crime-free lifestyle. Oftentimes the work of probation officers within the criminal justice system is taken for granted or misunderstood, but her leadership paved the way for DCR to be recognised for the primary role that it plays in offender management and public safety”.
Chief Officer for Financial Services and Home Affairs Dax Basdeo said, “Ms. Malice’s passion and dedication is an inspiration, and supported by a team of like-minded individuals. The department is well-poised to pursue its mission to influence positive behavioural change in adult offenders, and the Ministry will continue to support Ms. Malice and her staff as they deliver on its critical mandate for the country.”