Barker’s Beach in West Bay received a thorough clean in time for Christmas thanks to inmates from HMP Northward and HMP Fairbanks.
Bags full of washed up or discarded plastic and other rubbish stretched out along Barker’s Beach ready to be collected as inmates and staff worked quickly through the clean-up early on Saturday, 14 December.
“We are very happy that this programme could start before Christmas. This beach will be utilised by people during the holidays. We hope that it is something we can work with the prison to see happen on a regular basis, now that there are additional resources at the prison,” commented the Minister for Home Affairs and MLA for West Bay South, Hon. Tara Rivers, JP., who joined the team on Saturday morning.
“As a government, we’re very keen to enhance the rehabilitation offerings at Northward prison to make sure that while the prisoners are there they do something productive and constructive and give back to society. In many ways, I think this will help them to reconnect with the environment we hope that they will transition to once they have been released,” she continued.
Five staff members and 18 inmates volunteered to rake, shovel and bag debris as part of a programme run by Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) to give inmates the opportunity to do something positive for their community.
“These people have caused significant harm to communities. It’s important to us but also important to them to take steps to repay and undo some of the harm they have caused, as well as to generate self-esteem through purposeful activity and gain a sense of wellbeing,” commented the Director of Prisons, Mr Steven Barrett.
The inmates who volunteered from HMP Northward were from the recently opened Enhanced Rehabilitation Unit (ERU). This unit functions as a half-way house for low-risk inmates coming to the end of their sentence and supports them through their transition to life in the community.
The majority of those in the ERU are already working outside the prison during the work week and return to HMP Northward in the evening and at weekends. According to the Mr Barrett, they were more than happy to give up their leisure time for the West Bay beach project.
He went on to say: “We’re hoping that the opportunities offered to the males in the ERU and the women in HMP Fairbanks will act as a motivating factor for those who haven’t yet reached that stage in their sentence. This is all part of a broader strategy to reconnect people with communities and also to reconnect communities with us.”
HMCIPS has a long-running programme of projects to support the community and prepare inmates to successfully re-enter the community at the end of their sentence.
Early next year, they plan on undertaking their most ambitious project yet by renovating an entire property in East End.