Sybil Joyce Hylton, MBE
Remembered for “An outstanding commitment to youth”, Mrs. Sybil Joyce Hylton, MBE (1913 to 2006), the daughter of Edward and Jane Russell and wife of Wilfred Augustus “Conrad” Hylton, was Cayman’s first probation and welfare officer and a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged young people.
Early life and education
Sybil Joyce Hylton was born on 25 August 1913.
Mrs. Hylton pioneered the establishment of the Probation Services in the Cayman Islands and is widely regarded within the profession as the Mother of Probation. Mrs. Hylton, acting as an advocate, not only lobbied the government but sparked public attention to change the judicial proceedings for juveniles. She was incensed that while observing a court session a juvenile was being treated like an adult criminal offender in open court.
Her concerns did not go unnoticed as in 1963 the government entrusted Ms Joyce with the responsibility to oversee the first Probation Service within the Cayman Islands. She went on to serve as the first head of the country’s Probation and Welfare Department until 1982. That was a role for which she was particularly well-suited and she revolutionised her department’s work. Her background and training included years of volunteering with the Jamaican authorities, with whom she maintained a close relationship throughout her tenure.
By the time of her appointment, she was already lobbying government to rectify a number of inequities that confronted the Islands’ youth. Her zest for championing issues such as the need for a separate court for juveniles continued into her retirement, as did her lengthy service on the Adoption Board.
Mrs. Hylton’s exemplary commitment to young people extended to her private life; among other projects, she helped to develop the scouting movement in the Cayman Islands. Presenting her with a special award in 1972, the Nor’wester Magazine recognised her numerous contributions to young people.
Honours and awards
She received the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour in 1968 and was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) ten years later.
Sybil Joyce Hylton passed away peacefully on 1 October 2006, aged 93. Internment was at the Dixie Cemetery.