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Published 12th August 2021, 10:41am
The Cayman Islands Independent Monitoring Board (CIIMB) has delivered its second Annual Report to His Excellency the Governor. Following its presentation to Cabinet, the CIIMB 2020 Annual Report is now available on the website of the Office of the Deputy Governor (ODG), at www.odg.gov.ky.
Established in 2019, the CIIMB consists of community volunteers who have been appointed by the Governor to monitor the conditions and treatment of prisoners and detainees in the Cayman Islands. The CIIMB is independent of the Department and Ministry responsible for the prison service, and receives secretariat support from the Office of the Deputy Governor.
CIIMB members conduct monitoring visits throughout the year and are able to discuss their observations, and any concerns, on an ongoing basis with the prison management. Board members also receive and respond to prisoners' "applications" or requests for assistance.
Through its annual report, the Board shares its findings from its monitoring visits and interactions with prisoners for the year preceding. The annual report focuses prisoner outcomes, which are organised around the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) four key tests of a healthy custodial environment:
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Her Majesty's Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) are given an opportunity to respond to key questions raised in the report, and their comments are included as a Management Response in an appendix to the report.
New CIIMB Chair, Ms Dorothy Davis, is a founding member of the CIIMB, and previously served as Deputy Chair. "It is important for our prisons to be managed in a way that respects the humanity of everyone involved in a prison, because prisoners do not lose their basic human rights just because they are sent to prison," Mrs Davis stated.
"Through our monitoring and reporting we hope that we can help to help everyone know what is actually happening behind the closed doors of our prisons, which may be different from what they hope or expect. We also hope that our reports will help all those responsible to make improvements that will help prisoners to lead productive, crime-free lives after they have served their punishment," the CIIMB Chair said.
The 2020 Annual Report was presented to the new Minister and Chief Officer for Home Affairs, the Honourable Bernie Bush and Acting Chief Officer (ACO) Micheal Ebanks, respectively.
In his response to the CIIMB's 2020 Annual Report, Minister Bush expressed his support for the Board's work:
"The Ministry of Home Affairs greatly appreciates the continued diligence of the CIIMB, in its second year of operation. The board members demonstrate commitment in their independent monitoring of conditions and treatment of people in H.M. Cayman Islands Prison Service. This is evident in their 2020 Annual Report and on-going collaboration with the Prison Service. The Ministry is also grateful to the Office of the Deputy Governor for its valuable support to the CIIMB," Minister Bush stated.
Ministry Officials also commended the Director of Prisons and the Prison Service team, as well as partner agencies, for their high level of cooperation and transparency with the CIIMB.
"The Ministry is pleased with the partnership between CIIMB and the Prison Service; and is proud to note that the collaboration is ground-breaking within the Caribbean region. The Ministry will continue to promote a fair, accountable, multi-agency approach to prison service delivery; and highlight the vital role of the community in the reintegration of people from prison," ACO Ebanks said.
The Acting Chief Officer further acknowledged the challenges presented to quality outcomes for prisoners by the current prison estate: "A number of the difficulties are related to the need for a new fit-for-purpose prison estate. As such, the Ministry will continue to support the Prison Service in finding innovative solutions to some of the challenges that cannot be readily addressed."
In his response to the 2020 Annual Report, HMCIPS Director, Stephen Barrett, stated:
"I am pleased to note that the CIIMB has not only recognised the significant difficulties presented to our staff and our partners by virtue of our environmental deficiencies, but have also fairly reported on the improvements and advances made in the delivery of our services. The recommendations made by the CIIMB, and subsequent management proposed actions will drive the focus of our partnership going forward."
His Excellency the Governor, Mr Martyn Roper, thanked the CIIMB members for volunteering for the challenging work of monitoring our local prisons and acknowledged the importance of their work.
"The work of the CIIMB shines an independent light on the treatment of our prisoners and the conditions in our prison, advocating for fairness, decency and respect. They are our eyes and ears, with unique access to our prisoners and critical opportunity to highlight where the welfare or rehabilitation of these individuals might be compromised. It is a voluntary role like no other and I am delighted that we have such a dedicated group of individuals supporting us in this area"
Last Updated 2021-08-12