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Cayman Islands Government

Rehabilitation Centre Coming

Overseas experts on youth rehabilitation visited Cayman recently to meet with officials of the Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing. Standing(L-R): Minister the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP; Director of the Missouri Youth Services Institute Mark Steward; Ministry Administrative Officer Sophy Broad. Seated (L-R): Chief Operating Officer of the Missouri Youth Services Institute Alice Steward; the Ministry's Senior Policy Advisor (Community Affairs) Debbie-Ann Whittaker, and Chief Officer Dorine Whittaker.

The government is moving to establish an on-island facility to provide appropriate rehabilitation for young people.

The Minister for Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP, spoke to the type of service the rehabilitation facility would provide, explaining that government is looking at a model which originated in Missouri, USA as a possible blueprint for the facility.

"This model is based on a community programme that emphasize rehabilitation, treatment and education, and is an interactive approach among youth, their families and staff.

"It is in essence a move away from the traditional correctional approach which has shown not to effectively rehabilitate young people," the Minister explained.

Hence, the Ministry has solicited the assistance of an overseas consultant, Mr. Mark Steward, director from the Missouri Youth Services Institute who was on the island early in October meeting with key stakeholders.

Giving the rationale for the facility, Minister Adam noted that the conditions of residential care for youth in Cayman are far from perfect.

"Currently our children and youth in need of care and protection are being housed with those who exhibit delinquent and/or offending behaviour.

"To exacerbate the situation, overseas institutions are no longer an option due to international immigration restrictions and the closure of Tranquility Bay in Jamaica for economic reasons. However, even if providing overseas placements were still an option, the exorbitant cost and separation from family make this a less than ideal arrangement," the Minister said.

Further, Minister Adam noted, juvenile offenders sentenced to imprisonment or remand serve their time at Eagle House where they come into daily contact with adult prisoners at HMPS Northward; while female juvenile offenders are sent to HMPS Fairbanks where there is no specialist facility, trained staff or rehabilitative programmes.

"The government believes that the path we chart for our youth must be three-fold. First, we must empower those already on a positive path by supporting their education and their social, spiritual and physical development.

"But we must also have effective intervention strategies in place, and we must have the programmes s in place to correct and rehabilitate those showing delinquent behaviour," Mr. Adam said.

The plans to provide the proper rehabilitative programming and facilities for troubled children and youth is more urgent than ever, as a remand facility is now a Constitutional obligation, Minister Adam added.

"The Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009, Section (6) (3) states that juvenile prisoners shall be segregated from adult prisoners, and this section has effect from four days after the appointed day. By 6 November 2013, therefore, the Cayman Islands must have suitable facilities in place in order to uphold this provision," the Minister noted.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes