Review of arrangements for life sentence prisoners published

Criminal Justice Inspection has published its review of transition to community arrangements for life sentenced prisoners.  The review, which was carried out at the request of the Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins MP, examined the risk assessment and management processes in place within the Northern Ireland Prison Service, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland.  The review revealed that public protection was paramount in all decision made in relation to life sentence prisoners and that the arrangements in place in Northern Ireland compared favourably with those in other jurisdictions.  During the course of the review, Inspectors identified a number of weaknesses within the existing arrangements that could have a negative impact on the review process.  This would be of particular concern if and when increased numbers of prisoners became subject to oversight by the Parole Commissioners as a result of changes in legislation brought about by the Criminal Justice Order 2008.  The Inspectorate has made a number of recommendations to address these weaknesses and will be returning to revisit the subject in a follow-up review to assess progress in about 18 months time. Click here to view a copy of CJI’s press release or to download an electronic copy of the review.  To view the response of the Northern Ireland Prison Service to the review, please follow this link to their website