April - June

A new inspection report on Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI) has recommended the organisation is now ready to seek accreditation under the Government Protocol for Community-Based Restorative Justice.  The inspection carried out by CJI found that progress had been made by the CRJI to address the recommendations made by the Inspectorate in its pre-inspection report published in October 2007.
A report on corporate governance arrangements within the Youth Justice Agency has been published today by CJI.  The report confirms that sound structures and corporate governance arrangements exist within the agency. Please follow the link to read or download an electronic version of the report.
Robust targeted enforcement is the key to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Northern Ireland’s roads according to a joint inspection report on Roads Policing by CJI and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).  The report which makes nine recommendations for improvement to the PSNI also includes an action plan from the Police Service setting out how the organisation plans to tackle the issues raised by both Inspectorates.  Inspectors from CJI and HMIC teamed up with representatives of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate for this inspection to provide an all-island perspective on roads policing.  This is the first time inspectors from jurisdictions in northern and southern Ireland have worked together.  Brendan McGuigan said CJI was delighted to have the input of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate on this particular topic as many of the problems encountered on Northern Ireland’s roads were shared by the Republic of Ireland.  A separate report by the Garda Síochána Inspectorate is due to be published in the near future.
CJI and HMCIP have published a joint inspection of Ash House, Northern Ireland’s women’s prison.  The report recognised the work being carried out by Prison Service staff to mitigate the fact that Ash House is inappropriately located within the male young offenders centre site at Hydebank Wood, but Inspectors have once again urged the Prison Service to establish a separate women’s facility to meet the specific needs of female prisoners. 
A joint review of Scientific Support Services within the PSNI carried out by Criminal Justice Inspection and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has welcomed the steady progress made by police to improve its services. CJI’s Chief Inspector Kit Chivers indicated that the Inspectorates were please to see a further five recommendations had been fully achieved and another nine recommendations had been significantly progressed since Scientific Services were last examined 12 months ago. He added that Inspectors were assured the PSNI viewed Scientific Support Services as critical to the investigation and detection of crime, and that it will undertake further work to achieve the completion of all outstanding recommendations
Paul Mageean has left his post with the CJI inspection team to take up a new appointment as Director of the University of Ulster’s new Graduate School of Professional Legal Education based at Magee College, Derry/Londonderry.  Paul has been a valued member of CJI’s staff since his appointment in June 2005.  Paul takes with him the best wishes of the Chief Inspector, Deputy Chief Inspector, his colleagues in the Inspection team and all other members of staff at CJI as he commences his new role.
Criminal Justice Inspection has published its first inspection report of the purpose-built Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre.  Inspectors reported that Woodlands was a well-managed facility that struck a good balance between caring for difficult children and addressing their offending behaviour.  Copies of the report can be downloaded or viewed here.
Minister Paul Goggins MP announced that he had asked CJI to conduct an independent review of the arrangements for assessing and testing life sentence prisoners prior to their release.  Responding to the announcement Kit Chivers said: “I see this review as an important opportunity to provide the Minister and the public with an independent view of the arrangements that are currently in place.  I hope the review will assist the Prison Service and other agencies in providing arrangements that will enhance public protection in Northern Ireland in the future.”
CJI has published a follow-up review of its inspection of Benefit Investigation Services (BIS) within the Social Security Agency (SSA). The review, which assessed the progress made by the agency in addressing recommendations made in its 2006 report, found that good progress had been made and 15 recommendations had been achieved.  Speaking following the publication of the report, Kit Chivers said: “CJI welcomes the commitment and effort the Benefit Investigation Service and the Social Security Agency have put into progressing the recommendations contained in the original inspection report. The work undertaken to date will undoubtedly enhance their contribution to the criminal justice system and help BIS and the SSA make the best use of the information and resources available to it to tackle benefit fraud in Northern Ireland in the most effective way.”
Criminal Justice Inspection has praised the work being undertaken by Belfast Harbour Police to improve the policing service it offers within the harbour estate in an inspection report published today.
Kit Chivers and Tom McGonigle spoke at a conference on Women in the Justice System organised by the NI Prison Service at Hillsborough Castle.
Criminal Justice Inspection has published the results of its 2008 Omnibus Survey.  The survey, which was carried out on behalf of CJI by NISRA in January, has found that public awareness of the organisations remains steady with around one in four people survey having heard of CJI.   It has also shown that public confidence in the Inspectorate’s to act independently of Government has grown by 15% compared with the previous year.  The full results of the survey can be viewed by following the link above.
Kit Chivers and Dame Nuala O’Loan addressed a seminar hosted by the Irish School of Ecumenics in west Belfast.   The seminar was part of the Moral Maze series supported by Belfast City Council.  During his speech which looked at restoring relationships, Kit warned that it would be wrong to look to the criminal justice system to bear the whole responsibility for resolving the legacy of the Troubles.  Instead he suggested that consideration be given to establishing a negotiated framework of official forgiveness through which all parties including the authorities could acknowledge responsibility in generic terms for things done which with hindsight they regret.  The full text of Kit’s speech can be viewed by clinking on this link.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has advertised to recruit a successor to Kit Chivers as Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice, when Kit retires at the end of July. For further information on this post, please visit www.penna.com/recruitment quoting the reference number 26694.  The closing date for applications is Thursday 8 May 2008.
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) has unveiled its Business Plan for 2008-09.  The plan outlines the work the Inspectorate intends to undertake during the coming financial year.