“Incarcerate Hardcore Gang Members Overseas”

May 5, 2011

During this evening’s [May 5] Town Hall meeting Minister of National Security Wayne Perinchief said that he will be recommending that we incarcerate hardcore gang members overseas.

Minister Perinchief spoke about programs to assist prisoners, and said that some criminals will change, while some will not as they are “criminally minded and have no intention of adapting and changing.” He said he believes that the people committing “wanton murder” are a different type of individual and prepared to repeat that behaviour.

The Minister earned applause after telling the audience that, “While I believe in rehabilitation, I believe punishment should come before rehabilitation. With that in view, I will be proposing to my Cabinet that we consider incarcerating hardcore gang members in other jurisdictions.”

Speaking with the Minister after the Town Hall, he said at this time the concept is his “personal wish”, and he has not yet brought it to Cabinet. He said he presently has someone looking into other jurisdictions, as well as the legislation to allow the transfers.

Explaining his position, he said some of the gang members incarcerated “should not be allowed to sit in prison pumping iron and in some instances running their illicit affairs from inside the prison. There is some indication that some of those people still have influence on the outside world.”

“As far as many of us are concerned, gang membership should bring added penalties, and a complete isolation from the population that they would seek to influence and coerce,” concluded the Minister.

Prisoner transfer is not a new concept either in theory or in practice. In April of last year then Premier Dr Ewart Brown said that the Government is looking into the possibility of transferring prisoners overseas, with Dr Brown saying that some perceive, “whether fairly or unfairly, that Bermuda prisons are less then prisons”. He said “Minister Col. David Burch will be examining the options available overseas for incarceration of offenders.”

There has also been talk of a regional high security prison, with the Cayman Island’s Premier proposing last year that British Overseas Territories combine and “develop a regional prison for serious crime that will be in a country outside of the territories.”

After the Overseas Territories Meeting held in Bermuda last year, then Premier Dr Brown said, “There was some talk of a regional high security prison, it’s an issue we may take to the UK Government. I would imagine if the concept were to go forward and if interest was expressed by independent countries, it would be entertained.”

News article from The Glasgow Herald on Feb 1, 1960

The Glasgow Herald on Feb 1, 1960

One of the most recent times a prisoner was sent overseas was in 1960, when a Bermudian convicted of murder was sent to the UK to complete his sentence in a mental institution that could hold convicted prisoners.

19-year-old Wendell Lightbourne was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1959 murder of 29-year-old British secretary Dorothy Rawlinson. Ms Rawlinson’s body washed up on a beach, with bloodstained clothing found nearby.

Mr Lightbourne confessed, and was scheduled to be executed on Dec 30, 1959, which was postponed to Jan 20 1960. The execution was again postponed to Feb 3, 1960 to await a psychological report.

Following the report of three psychiatrists that he was mentally unfit, on Jan 31 1960 his death sentence was commuted to life in prison, to be served in England.

Going further back – in the 1800s – Bermuda sent Bermudian criminals overseas in a process called “transportation.”

In 1833, a year before Emancipation, Jemmy Place, a “Free Person of Colour”, was found guilty of theft. He was initially sentenced to death, however the Governor commuted Mr Place’s sentence to ‘transportation’, and he was sent to Botany Bay in Australia.”

At that time in our history, others were ‘transported’ to Australia for various offences including Francis Ashley, Hugh Sherlock, Thomas Wood, George Hamilton, and Martin Swan.

You can view the full replay [2.5 hours] of the Town Hall Meeting on crime here. For the section where the Minister speaks about the prisons and possible transfer of prisoners, drag the bottom bar to the 37th minute.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Guest says:

    This is test comments.

  2. ._./ says:

    Now THAT sounds like a plan.