Prison Service commemorates 35th year

| 19/04/2016
CNS Local Life

HMP Northward

(CNS): HM Cayman Islands Prison Service will mark its 35th anniversary with the first formal Cayman Islands Corrections Week set for 24-30 April. HMP Northward opened on 5 June 1981, when prison officers from the UK arrived to set up the service and train local staff.

Convicted offenders were previously kept in the “lock-up” in George Town or, for serious offences, served their sentences in Kingston, Jamaica. Originally built to house around 50 prisoners, including females, Northward has expanded throughout the last three-and-a-half decades, with a number of wings, the children’s unit, a farm, gym, chapel and vocational workshops added during that time.

The Prison Service now also includes the women’s facility at Fairbanks, which opened in 1999, and oversees the Immigration Detention Centre.

“Often the forgotten partners in law enforcement and community safety, the employees of the Prison Service work tirelessly to ensure that those remanded and sentenced to prison are held safely and securely, maintaining good order and discipline,” said Director of Prisons Neil Lavis.

According to a government press release, Lavis has emphasised treating colleagues, visitors and prisoners in a humane and respectful way.

Rehabilitation of prisoners is also a major focus, with the service investing heavily in resources that provide prisoners with the tools to change their lives and prevent reoffending when they return to the community.

“Corrections Week is an avenue through which we want to spotlight the work being done by the prisoners and staff, and address public misconceptions,” said Lavis. “A positive regard and participation from the community is vital to the success of any rehabilitation programme.”

Corrections Week celebrations include a thanksgiving service at the Church of God Chapel on Walkers Road on Sunday, 24 April, and a tour and luncheon for Members of the Legislative Assembly at Northward on Monday, 25 April.

The week will be rounded off with a reception and recruits graduation ceremony on Friday, 29 April and a staff community project on Saturday, 30 April.

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