(CMR) The Department of Community Rehabilitation recently launched its new electronic risk assessment and case planning tool, GEARS.
GEARS, which stands for Global institute of forensic research Electronic Assessment and Reporting System, will be an integral part of the DCR offender management process to provide electronic risk assessment and case management support.
The Department of Community Rehabilitation (DCR) Cayman Islands is an arm of the Criminal Justice System whose focus is community-based supervision and rehabilitative services to adult offenders to reduce reoffending, contribute to public safety, and provide opportunities for restorative justice.
Speaking to the impact of GEARS on DCR’s offender management process Melissa Rivas Acting Director of the Department of Community Rehabilitation, noted, “with the implementation of the GEARS platform, DCR will be able to identify what local factors contribute to offending by an individual and triage what intervention is needed to support and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.”
GEARS will provide information and data analysis to implement the following:
– Evidence-based risk assessments to guide the intervention process for adult offenders engaged in the criminal justice system.
– Efficient and accurate offender management services based on evidence-based risk assessments.
– Effective intervention services to support successful re-entry into the community following release from HMCIPS and completion of community-based supervision orders by reducing the risk of reoffending
– Utilisation of data to effectively support earlier intervention to prevent and reduce adults entering the criminal justice system
– Public safety strategies in collaboration with partner agencies based on the data collected.
Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of Home Affairs Julian Lewis said, “Research shows that in order to reduce the chances of reoffending, it is necessary to address the root causes of offending behavior through appropriate intervention services.”
“The risk assessment tools utilized by the Department of Community Rehabilitation for individuals who have offended will identify specific risks and needs of each individual so that there can be meaningful supervision and intervention offered in the prisons and in the community,” Lewis said.
The Chief Officer further stated that “platforms like GEARS will help make Cayman safer in the long term by providing the necessary data trends to assist MHA to drive policy and funding decisions at a more national level. One of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ key objectives is to steer a shift within the departments to become more ‘outcome-oriented' and accountable for enhancing efficiencies. The collection of useful local data will guide services and resources to ensure that we are being effective, which would be evidenced by positive outcomes such as a reduction in recidivism rates.”
In addition to Offender Management services and programs, DCR provides four core services across the justice system: preparation of reports for the judicial system, HMCIPS, and the Conditional Release Board; delivery of the intervention and rehabilitative programs to address skills deficits, such as anger management; supervision of offenders focused on change work to reduce risk of reoffending; and the provision of victim support services across the criminal justice system.
The Department of Community Rehabilitation works closely in partnership with H.M. Cayman Islands Prison Service, also under the Ministry of Home Affairs, through a Service Level Agreement to improve and effectively implement rehabilitative strategies across both entities to aid in successful reintegration back into the community.
As part of an inter-agency SLA, DCR services are offered within HMCIPS to support the rehabilitation of offenders. In addition, DCR provides evidence-based assessments and reports to support effective decision–making by HMCIPS for internal matters such as the Release on Temporary License program. DCR also supports crime victims through contacts, reports, and advocacy to promote victim protection. In addition, DCR also delivers gender-specific programs in the institutions such as the Men’s Non-Violence Program at HMP Northward and Female Empowerment Services at HMP Fairbanks.
Acting Chief Officer Lewis noted, “There is a joint responsibility for both the secure detention and the care and rehabilitation of people in prison. These functions, performed effectively, are powerful tools for enhancing any country’s safety and community well-being. An example of this, in the Cayman Islands, has been the extraordinary work of the HMCIPS and DCR to achieve rehabilitative reform in the prison.”