Approved premises play a ‘vital role’ in public protection in NI

A Review looking at how Probation Board approved premises contribute to resettlement, rehabilitation and public protection in Northern Ireland has highlighted the vital role they play in supporting men and women who need additional supervision to manage their risk of reoffending after release from prison.
“Approved premises provide accommodation for high-risk offenders to stay when they leave prison and they make a valuable contribution to keeping our community safe.  Having a home on release from custody is one of the key elements that can support men and women leaving prison to stop offending and contribute to their rehabilitation, “ said CJI Chief Inspector Jacqui Durkin.
“As part of this Review Inspectors visited each of the seven approved premises in Northern Ireland.  We spoke to residents and staff and looked at records, oversight and governance arrangements.  We also spoke to Probation Officers, Police Officers, Prison Officers and Governors and Housing Executive staff,” she said.
Inspectors found that approved premises staff were highly motivated and day day-to-day practice and working relationships were good.  Inspectors identified that while initial risk assessments were completed on admission to the approved premise and needs and support plans were in place for residents, they did not find strong evidence of how this information linked to Probation case plans and the current risk profile of the individual.
“Staff in approved premises are interacting with their residents every day so it is important they know the current risk profile to enable them to better contribute to Probation case plans, public protection arrangements and inform resettlement work,” she said.
“We have made one strategic and three operational recommendations for improvement in this Review to help enable approved premises develop their services and strengthen the partnerships between approved premises and the criminal justice system,” concluded the Chief Inspector.