The Cayman Islands Law Reform Commission issued a new discussion paper on the decriminalization of suicide Friday (16 August).
While it is recommending revisions to the Penal Code Law to decriminalize the act of suicide, it wants to retain attempted suicide and assisted suicide as offences.
The Commission issued a discussion paper now out for public comment. It stemmed from a proposal made by the Alex Panton Foundation. Under the current law on suicide, if a person is found guilty of taking their own life, even though they are dead, they can face various punishments including forfeiting property to the Crown and being given a profane burial.
Although there are no reported cases of prosecution for those who committed suicide in the Cayman Islands, it still remains on the law books.
The same goes for attempted suicide.
The Commission recommended in its proposal that treatment, rather than prosecution, should be the response for a person struggling with mental health crises that are pushing them to consider taking their own lives.
On the flip-side though, the paper also makes the case for adding criminal liability for any person assisting or being complacent in a suicide.
That offence carries a proposed 14-year prison term.
Submissions on the proposals should be sent to the Director of the Law Reform Commission no later than 21 October.