It is important that we take time to reflect on the needs of all those affected by prisons, prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities, and all those working in criminal justice system.
This was the message from Justice Minister Naomi Long as she marked the beginning of Prisons Week (10-16 October) in a visit to Hydebank Wood College and Female Prison.
Minister Long said: “The past year has been challenging for everyone associated with prisons, staff, prisoners, families and indeed victims of crime. However, through the efforts of many we have managed to keep Covid out of prisons and prisoners out of cells.
“Prisons Week is an opportunity for us to stop and reflect on what has been achieved by staff – but also to remember the many people affected by imprisonment in Northern Ireland. As we continue the careful road to recovery the resilience shown in the last 18 months will be equally important.”
The Minister added: “Prisons Week also remembers victims of crime and the burden they have to carry. The justice system must continue to support people who have been affected by crime to ensure they receive the justice they deserve and our prisons should support people in custody to address their offending behaviour and to play a positive role when they return to the community.”
Director General of the Prison Service Ronnie Armour said, “As well as highlighting the crucial work of our staff and remembering victims of crime, it is also important that we also recognise the impact of imprisonment, and in particular the effect it has on the families of prisoners.
“Families are often forgotten but we know that when a prisoner leaves custody they are much less likely to re-offend if they have a positive support network. I want to commend they work of our many service partners for the work they do to ensure that family connections are maintained while people are in prison. That support helps the Prison Service to play our part in reducing re-offending and building a safer community.”
Watch on our YouTube channel Minister Long visited Hydebank Wood College
Notes to editors:
1. Photo Captions:
Phtoto 1: Justice Minister Naomi Long marked the beginning of Prisons Week (10-16 October) with a visit to Hydebank Wood College and Female Prison where she chatted to young offenders in the ‘Bank Barbers’. Included is Hydebank Governor Richard Taylor. Prisons Week is a UK-wide week which highlights the impact of imprisonment on prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities. Picture: Michael Cooper
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