Committee Puts Prison Issues Top of the Agenda

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 09 June 2010

Reference: Jus03/09/10

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Justice has put prison issues at the top of its agenda after briefings from Prison Service officials and the Criminal Justice Inspectorate. Following the briefings the Committee has been left in no doubt of the problems facing the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Committee Chairman Lord Morrow MLA, said: “The briefings the Committee received recently raised a number of issues with which the Committee is very concerned. These include the cost of keeping a prisoner here and findings in relation to Maghaberry Prison which highlighted significantly poor performance across a range of areas.

“As part of its work the Committee will be visiting prisons over the coming months. The first of our visits is to Maghaberry today where we will tour the prison and talk to staff, prisoners and management.

“The Committee is very aware that the Prison Service and its staff operate in a challenging environment. However, progress needs to be made quickly to address the acute problems highlighted in recent Inspection reports, reduce the cost of keeping a prisoner and improve the contribution the Service makes to reducing levels of reoffending.”

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