HMCIPS Director Resigns
The Ministry of Home Affairs regretfully announces the resignation of Neil Lavis as Director of Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service (HMCIPS).
Mr. Lavis joined HMCIPS, which includes HMP Northward and HMP Fairbanks, in June 2013.
During his tenure, he introduced several new policies and procedures to improve the standard of service delivery at both facilities. In the recent budget exercise he successfully secured funding for the hire of 19 new prison officers and to begin the design process for a new Prison facility.
Mr. Lavis implemented the Release on Temporary License (ROTL) programme which 24 inmates have taken part in to date. The scheme aims to develop critical life and job skills for prisoners by exposing them to the “real world” prior to their release.
As the prison director he was also appointed to run the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), where he established policies and procedures to ensure the proper care and protection of detainees.
Mr. Lavis improved stakeholder relationships and engineered Memoranda of Understanding (MOU's) with critical partners such as the Department of Community Rehabilitation (DCR), Health Services Authority (HSA), the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and other stakeholder agencies.
He was part of a specialist team selected by Ministry officials to travel to Trinidad earlier this year to take part in a CARICOM working group geared towards the development of a Regional Anti-Terrorism Strategy.
During his tenure he has supported the implementation of several rehabilitation programmes within both facilities, geared towards breaking the cycle of re-offending by assessing the specific needs of inmates and offering targeted interventions, in collaboration with stakeholder agencies.
An example is the Sycamore Tree Project which was introduced in January 2016 which provides inmates with an outlet to reflect on the effects of their crimes and make amends.
Earlier this year Mr. Lavis established the Fresh Start: Vocational Training Programme, which is a partnership with several private sector construction companies that teaches inmates the skills required to obtain a job in the industry.
In July 2017 he helped introduce the concept of a Tannery and Leather Craft Workshop at the prison, which, once its up and running, will provide inmates with marketable skills and and an opportunity to supply their handmade crafts to a local shop.
The Prison Community Work Party initiative has also been brought online and this allows inmates to clean up various communities throughout the island by removing graffiti, picking up garbage and generally keeping the districts litter-free.
Last month he helped launch a cosmetology training course at the Fairbanks facility’s salon providing a pathway for professional make-up training for interested inmates. Mr. Lavis is credited for establishing several other initiatives and treatment programmes to help prisoners lead law abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.
He was also committed to the professional development of his staff to ensure they were equipped to continue to improve the processes and systems currently in place. In August 2017 he supported 12 staff members who travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) for training geared towards upskilling correctional staff in Overseas Territories.
“I would like to thank Ministry leaders, the staff at HMCIPS and public and private sector stakeholders for their support and hard work throughout the past four years,” Mr. Lavis explains. “My goal as prison director has always been to provide a safe and secure environment for the people of this country, and to ensure the inmates in my care have access to any type of rehabilitation programme and treatment they need to facilitate their return to society and reduce the likelihood that they will reoffend."
“The Ministry would like to thank Mr. Lavis for his service to the department,” Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs Dax Basdeo states. “I believe it is the responsibility of a correctional leader to look after offenders with humanity, help them realise their mistakes and then give them the necessary tools and opportunities to change their life for the better. I believe Mr. Lavis has succeeded in that and has brought positive change to all aspects of the Prison's operations."
For further information contact: Jamie Hicks