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Police, Prison Explain Process

Over the past few days, there has been much comment in the media in relation to protocols for the exchange of information between Her Majesty's Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS) and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). These comments arose as a consequence of speculation over who may, or may not, have been involved in the tragic death of Ms Estella Scott-Roberts.

This joint press release seeks to explain the position and to re-assure the community that there are regular, routine and confidential lines of communication between the two agencies. Both agencies work together in the common interests of protecting the public and reducing victims of crime.

Clearly, the content of information shared between HMCIPS and the RCIPS is not a matter for public debate as, often, that information is classed as 'intelligence'. Moreover, RCIPS, like any modern police service, has to guard against the possibility of accusations of police harassment of released prisoners.

However, information given to the police by HMCIPS includes a weekly list of prisoners released or due to be released. Most of those prisoners would be classed as 'low-risk' and, therefore, HMCIPS would not pass any specific intelligence - if there is no intelligence to be passed - other than the main details of the released prisoners which are notified in writing.

Also, it is sometimes the case that no prisoners have been released or are due to be released in a particular week and, consequently, no list would be sent to the police by HMCIPS if no list exists. Perhaps this is what has given rise to the comment that there is not necessarily a list of released prisoners passed from HMCIPS to RCIPS every week. It can be confirmed, however, that during the week leading up to this tragic event, information on released prisoners was received by the RCIPS from HMCIPS.

It is essential for all to understand that, where a prisoner due to be released has been classified by HMCIPS as 'high risk', written notification of release to the police is supplemented by a verbal briefing from HMCIPS to RCIPS to ensure that full and factual information is passed between the agencies.

The risk assessment tools used by HMCIPS are the most recent, sophisticated, and robust tools available any where in the world. All prisoners are classified on admission and are subject to continuous review. If, towards the end of his/her sentence, risk assessments show that a prisoner still presents a danger to the public, in particular a danger of violent offending, then that would trigger a higher alert to the police from HMCIPS over and above the written notification.

Both agencies have confidence in their joint protocols for sharing information and intelligence on prisoners due to be released. Like all such protocols, they are subject to continuous and ongoing review and improvement.

HMCIPS and RCIPS would like to emphasise that they take this duty very seriously and stress the importance they attach to this essential component of protecting the public and reducing victims of crime.

For further information contact: Bina Mani