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Rehabilitation gets its own Department, Jaron Harvey is new Director with 86% success

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Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur 

Staff Writers 

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – The Probation and Rehabilitation Unit of the Turks and Caicos government has transitioned to the Department of Rehabilitation and Community Services and armed with new strategies they are successfully helping to prevent recidivism in the country.

In an enlightening session for those involved on November 21st,  the Department detailed that with its limited resources, it was already successfully helping to stop reoffending locally.

Jaron Harvey, Director of Rehabilitation led the event which focused on probation and parole, which they describe as alternatives to incarceration, fostering rehabilitation. For this rehabilitation to be successful, the Department has certain strategies, including addressing criminogenic needs for effective change and creating a holistic approach to the reintegration of offenders, including education, counseling, and employment.

Armed with an assessment plan, the Department of Rehabilitation and Community Services will aim to identify risk factors for re-offending in their clients based on criminogenic needs, these are factors that directly contribute to recidivism.

Cited as potential triggers were the criminal history, education and employment, family, companions, alcohol and drug dependence of the clients.  Then the Department creates a plan to effectively keep them away from crime.

“We have to tailor our intervention to their learning style so if they learn by playing, we have to play games, if they learn by watching videos, we have to watch videos,” he said.

Despite their hard work, there are some social issues which are barriers to clients; these include employment and ID challenges, societal stigma and personal struggles like substance abuse, mental health concerns or lack of education.

“There is a negative perception about offenders in the Turks and Caicos, and part of that is because people don’t understand what services are being made available to people who are caught in the criminal web,” Harvey lamented.

Representatives at the event shared one of their success stories under the pseudonym ‘John Doe’.  Doe was placed on probation for 18 months after committing burglary in January 2020. The team developed a case plan to address his criminogenic needs and he reported to a parole officer three times a week for sessions. By October of that year, he got an entry-level job and was promoted twice in four months.  By June 2021, he completed probation successfully and broke down in tears in the courtroom testifying that this was his first victory in his entire life.

As of 2023, John Doe has not reoffended and is still fully employed.

“This is a testament to the power of support rehabilitation and transformation,” Harvey explained.

But John Doe isn’t the only success story, he’s not even an outlier. Between 2019 to 2023 of the 12 clients helped by the Department, only one re-offended.

“We are functioning at about 86% success rate with limited resources,” said Harvey

During the meeting, several questions and concerns were raised by Magnetic Media including the length of time that some offenders have to wait for parole, we are told some offenders wait out their entire sentence, and parole applications are still not approved.

The Department recently visited Cayman to further its knowledge and is looking to introduce an electronic monitoring system by 2024.

What the Department of Rehabilitation and Community Services wants now is to give former offenders a chance to reintegrate into society without stigma and more resources to help even more residents.

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TCI Police Confirm Passenger Death after Emergency Landing at PLS

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#TurksandCaicos, March 4, 2024 – On Wednesday (February 28) evening, TCI Police report that they were summoned to the Providenciales International Airport for an emergency landing around 6:12pm.

A female passenger who fell ill during a flight while on route to Charlotte, North Carolina from the Dominican Republic was taken from that plane and transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center where sadly, she died.

The 41-year-old woman had been escorted to the hospital by police units; we are told that CPR was performed on the passenger.

Police in that statement on Wednesday informed, s a post mortem will determine the cause of death.

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Police hear major concerns from GT residents

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 4, 2024 – Given the opportunity to liaison with the top brass of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, residents came prepared with the concerns that have been plaguing them for years, from detective work to 911 issues.

”Y’all didn’t say anything new, we keep hearing the same thing and we keep getting the same result,” was the complaint from the very first resident who spoke; but her biggest concern was the force’s detective work.

The resident said she was not averse to sharing information with the police, far from it.

“Someone sent me a video where a young man was sitting on a bed putting two bullets in a gun— and he called two names, he said one bullet for one of these people.”

After sending the video to the police the woman says, incredulously, the police asked her to find the room where the young man was so they could go and collect the gun. Her frustration was:  “It seems like the police put more of the burden on the community to provide them with information instead of going out there.”

In response to the concern, Dean Holden, Superintendent of Crime expressed that the police had had success recently, and over time because of community intelligence and would do better at working to communicate that success so residents were assured that they were making a difference.

A concern raised by another resident was the disconnect between 911 operators and Grand Turk residents.

“Once you call 911 operators they don’t know addresses in Grand Turk. I called the 911 operator, this was right by the police station, she didn’t even know where I was,” explained a resident sharing details of a car accident weeks prior.

The complaint has been an enduring one. Magnetic Media has received similar complaints regarding other serious incidents like fires and murders.

Oswald Skippings, Former Chief Minister demanded a more proactive approach to crime fighting with which Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor agreed. He didn’t just put the blame on the police, drawing the Governor and parents into the limelight outlining that they too had a part to play in the prevention of crime.

“There is a need for the government to reach down to unemployed residents, especially the youth and it’s easy because we have a small native population. We need to go under the trees, by the bars wherever these people associate and reach out to them.”

On the panel listening to the concerns were Micheal Woodbine, Superintendent of Prison; Dean Holden, Superintendent of Crime and SPPU; Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner; Chris Eyre, Acting Commissioner; and Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor.

The meeting was called after the public slaying of a young man in Grand Turk on February 8, 2024.

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Not Enough Police in Grand Turk; Residents are vocal in Anti-Crime Town Hall Meeting 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, March 4, 2024 – Residents of Grand Turk, while appreciative of the recent police Anti-Crime Town Hall meeting on February 21, say they’re concerned about the number of officers being deployed to the nation’s Capital.

One resident who spoke to the police officers during the event brought statistics.

”I want to speak to what I see happening in Grand Turk. In the ongoing capacity carrying study. It has been noted that the population in Grand Turk is around 72 to 7300 – that works out to about 927 persons per square mile.”

The resident maintained that 927 persons per square mile on an island like Grand Turk was in the police’s favor and much could be done for crime fighting using both humans and technology. Citing the millions of visitors that visit the island’s shores each year, residents lamented that there was no police enforcement to go along with that.

”There’s very little to mitigate the industry that’s keeping this island afloat,” the resident continued, demanding more attention for the capital.

”We live here, we see the change, probably the parliamentarians don’t see it but we see it and we expect that as citizens to have more than three police officers working the night shift.”

Other residents were in agreement, expressing frustration at the blind eye that they say is often turned to the capital.

“Why did it have to get to this point, that there had to be a shooting basically at the high school in order for people to [realize] that 20 or 15 or 28 officers just doesn’t cut it,” said one longtime resident

He complained that nine years ago, having moved to Grand Turk there were over 40 officers but with the increase in killings in Providenciales officers were stripped from Grand Turk. Now residents say they want them back.

Earlier, during the meeting police had promised that the increased presence in Grand Turk would not be temporary and they were exploring ways to increase the Force complement.

Hosting the meeting were executives of the Royal TCI Police including new Acting Commissioner Christopher Eyre; Dean Holden, Superintendent and Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner.  Attending were Her Excellency, the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and Otis Morris, Minister of Home Affairs and the Member of Parliament for Grand Turk North, the  Hon. Otis Morris.

The meeting was held at H.J. Robinson High school.

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