(CMR) The Cayman Islands Prison Service will be partnering with Inspire Cayman Training in order to offer trade school opportunities to Cayman's prison population with onsite prison officers as certified instructors.
The pilot program will initially commence with some 60 prisoners in the first year. However, it is expected to eventually include more than double that number. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Inspire Cayman owner, Michael Myles, shared his vision for the partnership stating that he is hoping to create career paths for inmates and not just jobs with a paycheque. His ultimate goal is to offer real long term employment opportunities for inmates once they are released back into the general population.
The courses would be offered while inmates are incarcerated with an option to continue their studies upon release. Myles recently set up the training “trade school” after implementing his vision for the project. The centre, located on Eastern Avenue, is accredited through the US-based National Centre for Construction Education and Research. Courses being offered cover a variety of areas including PADI certification, construction, carpentry, and air conditioning repair as well as soft skills training. Myles spoke on the importance of preparing workers to be ready to embrace the workplace with a good work ethic as well as marketable skills.
Myles explained that his partnership with key stakeholders was critical to the success of the programs. In attendance, was also a representative from the NCB Group.
At this time the partnership will see some six prison officers be certified as instructors with the ability to deliver the curriculum in the prison.
For his part, prison director Steven Barrett shared that they hope to decrease the recidivism rate and to put an end to the “revolving door syndrome”. He shared:
“When inmates leave Northward, that isn’t the end of our responsibility. We have a social responsibility to ensure their transition back into the community is successful. One of the reasons people fall back into crime is a sense of hopelessness about what the future looks like. If we can change that in some way then we may just prevent someone becoming a future victim of crime.”
Myles opened the school last month. He worked for a number of years as an at-risk youth worker for the Cayman Islands Government and has been known as a vocal person on the issue of youth offenders.
CMR was on-site to live-stream the entire press conference and you can view that here.