Government is moving ahead with its planned multi-million-dollar upgrades for local prisons.

A request for proposals has been issued on behalf of Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service for companies to bid for the chance to develop an outline business case for the planned project.

The RFP invites entities to submit proposals for the OBC, which will then be appraised, with plans then developed for the preferred option for the HCMIPS Estate Development.

Government got the green light in December for a new prison facility, one Premier Alden McLaughlin called “much-needed”. Before a new facility is built, however, a total of $20 million was allocated for upgrades to the current facilities.

According to budget documents, $9.85 million in capital expenditure on prison infrastructure has been set aside in 2020 and a further $10.5 million in 2021.

McLaughlin, in his budget statement in the LA, said the new prison facility will replace the existing male and female prisons at Northward and Fairbanks and will provide modern facilities for all types of offenders in a single location.

The tender closes on 5 Feb.

A 2015 report by a UK inspection team had labelled the prison system as “squalid” and “hardly fit for human habitation”.

Last year, the Human Rights Commission issued a statement warning that the prisons were “chronically underfunded” and suggesting failure to improve conditions, particularly at HMP Northward, could result in violations of prisoners’ human rights.

Overcrowding at the prison has also been a longstanding issue that has been regularly highlighted by those inside and outside prison walls.

Government Information Services, in response to queries from the Cayman Compass, said HMCIPS authorities are anticipating that the OBC and full business case will be completed this year with a view to break ground in 2021.

The budget for the project will be determined by the business case as this will outline such items as the specifications of the construction.

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