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Bermuda: Eligibility for Shorter Jail Terms for Foreigners Proposed

(Nov. 8, 2010) Bermuda's Home Affairs Minister, David Burch, has said that the government plans to amend legislation to establish the eligibility of foreign inmates for shorter terms of imprisonment. The issue came to the fore in the wake of the Martin Cashman case. Cashman, a British citizen denied parole who is serving an 11-year sentence for importing heroin into Bermuda, sued the government. He is asking for consideration for release after serving one-third of the prison term he was given; Bermudian citizens who are imprisoned can apply for consideration for such a release. Cashman lost his case in the Bermudian Supreme Court. (Government Plans to Shorten Jail Terms for Foreigners, CMC (Bridgetown), Oct. 26, 2010, World News Connection online subscription database, Doc. No. 201010291477.1_a395005547bb2e60; for details on the Cashman case, see Heroin Importer Martin Cashman Seeking Legal Aid, THE ROYAL GAZETTE (Aug. 23, 2010),

Bermuda has no arrangement with the United Kingdom to allow the parole of citizens back to Britain. It does have such an agreement, on a reciprocal basis, with Jamaica, that allows Jamaican prisoners to be paroled to their home country. Burch has said that although there is “much work” to be done to insure that foreign parolees would be appropriately supervised when they return to their home countries, the Government of Bermuda still plans to change its laws on parole eligibility foreigners. Burch went on to say that the modified law would not be as generous to foreign prisoners as to Bermudians. (CMC, supra.)

What we are proposing to do is to find a median point. At the moment, Bermudians can be released on parole having served one-third of their sentence. … What we are likely to do … is to arrive at a point where we have gotten our pound of flesh … in terms of punishment so it serves as a deterrent. Most of the people we have incarcerated are as a result of importing drugs. We do not want to come up with a period of incarceration that is insignificant. The person who … brought drugs into the country is then removed. It is not a question of parole but reducing their sentence so they are then sent home. (Id.)