Chief Inspector welcomes new direction for Prison Service advocated in interim prison review

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) has welcomed the interim report by Dame Anne Owers and her Review Team which sets out a new vision and new deal for the Northern Ireland Prison Service. 

Speaking today (28 February) following the publication of the report, Dr Michael Maguire, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland said: "CJI has published a number of very critical reports on the Northern Ireland Prison Service.  These reports have shown that deep problems exist in relation to costs, management processes, leadership, governance and accountability, staffing and working practices.   
"The interim report by the Review Team makes recommendations that will help shape change in these important areas," he said.
Looking to the future, Dr Maguire said the financial context within which the Prison Service will be operating would be significantly different and the expectations around what was expected from the Prison Service was also changing. 
"There is a real desire for change and Dame Anne’s report sets out some of the building blocks to make that change happen," said the Chief Inspector.   
"CJI welcomes the recommendations in this report which aim to change the nature of the way in which work is undertaken within Northern Ireland Prison Service.  We support the need for an increased focus on rehabilitation and a reduction in re-offending that will help make Northern Ireland a safer place," he added. 
The Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice acknowledged that the interim review of the Northern Ireland Prison Service recognised that the Prison Service cannot deliver change on its own. 
"There is a requirement for cross-departmental working to deal with issues such as mental health and for other aspects of the justice system to help reduce the number of people in prison on remand and those who are in prison for fine default.
"While not complete, the Review Team's interim report sets out a possible future for Northern Ireland Prison Service that all sections of society in Northern Ireland  can sign up to," concluded Dr Maguire.