Consistent with the approach of the Cayman Islands Government, Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) has taken proactive steps to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to prisoners and staff.
With immediate effect, a number of control measures have been introduced including essential restrictions to visitation at both HMP Fairbanks and HMP Northward.
The Director of Prisons, Mr. Steven Barrett has today (Tuesday, 17 March) announced that all routine visits to prisoners will be suspended while visits by legal representatives and police will be permitted albeit under restricted conditions.
Director Barrett has also advised that volunteers who would normally attend both prisons to deliver a range of services will no longer be permitted.
These restrictions will be reviewed after 30 days.
Other internal restrictions will be introduced to reduce the flow of people entering the prison as the situation develops. This may include a revised staff attendance arrangement if it is deemed necessary.
Consideration will also be given to whether a reduced schedule of other internal programmes and services will be required.
In addition to imposing restrictions aimed at limiting the movement of people, HMCIPS has already taken steps to enhance the existing levels of personal and environmental hygiene at all their sites.
Working closely with partners from the Health Services Authority, isolation areas at both Fairbanks and Northward have been identified and prepared should any suspected case emerge.
Speaking of these restrictions, Director Barrett, said, “The health of the prison community, both staff and prisoners, is our uppermost priority at this time. An outbreak of COVID-19 within a prison environment could have particularly serious implications. Many of our prisoners present with underlying medical conditions that would increase their vulnerability if exposed to COVID-19. It is imperative therefore, that we take reasonable and responsible steps to mitigate against this.”
He continued, “While the decision to cancel visits was entirely necessary, we do appreciate the importance of maintaining family contact and are considering a range of initiatives to ensure that we can continue to facilitate this as much as possible. This is a whole community issue and we are taking a whole community approach to dealing with it”.