CJI publishes follow up inspection of prisoner resettlement by the Northern Ireland Prison Service

A follow-up inspection report on prisoner resettlement by the Northern Ireland Prison Service was published today by CJI stating that, while the process of resettlement of offenders has improved the outcomes for prisoners are less obvious.
“The introduction of legislation, namely the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, has made a real difference in prisoner resettlement but there remains a greater emphasis on what is put into the process rather than the outcomes achieved,” said Dr Michael Maguire, chief inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.

22 recommendations were made in this report which is a follow-up to the 2007 inspection report. The report noted that the prisoner service had made structural and practical progress in several areas but stated that the prison service could not deliver resettlement alone.
Dr Maguire added, “It is obliged to work with whoever the courts send into its custody, and it is very difficult to ‘resettle’ people whose lives were frequently in chaos before entering prison,” he said. “The concept of encouraging and promoting prisoners’ citizenship rather than reducing it, and providing them with the rights, apart from their liberty, of free citizens, remains a political and societal challenge.”