Putting prisoners to work in hopes of making Cayman a better place to live. It’s the aim of a project between the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Northward Prison. Inmate Leighton Rankine is a part of the project and serving 13 years for a firearms charge he knows he owes a debt to society. He said he’s happy to take part in the programme where he helps clean the community.
“The stigma that they have is when you come to prison it’s hard for you to come out and have people trust you, so being on the road and stuff like that. We made mistakes and we will pay the consequences for our mistakes,” he said.
It’s the first time the National Roads Authority (NRA) teamed up with the Prison Service to make this happen. Interim Prisons Director Steven Barrett said it can be therapeutic for the inmates.
“From their own perspective, may an able them of getting a sense of paying something back and repairing some of the damage to the community that might have been caused by their own offending behaviours.”
A handful of inmates took part during Thursday’s (9 August) cleanup, much to the delight of Home Affairs Minister Hon. Tara Rivers.
“I’m happy to say that, that the pilot project seems to have been quite successful and the intention is to continue the program going forward,” said Minister Rivers.
She said it could go a long way in cutting Cayman’s notoriously high recidivism rate, estimated to be around 70 percent.
“Giving them the skills, the tools, getting them in the work habit so when they are released back into society they would’ve had that ability to develop some skills that they may not have had prior to prison or may have become rusty while incarcerated.”
Commerce Minister Hon. Joey Hew said it’s better than remaining idle behind prison walls.
“To have the ability to work along with the prison services and provide this (rehabilitation) opportunity for the prisoners and at the same time providing a very important and useful task in keeping our roadside and our islands clean and beautiful.”
The cleanup will finish at the end of August and the partnership between Her Majesty Cayman Islands Prison Service and the NRA is expected to continue.