The Northern Ireland Prison Service today marked the first of what will be a number of Passing Out ceremonies in the coming months, for new recruits.
12 prison officers – 9 male and 3 female - took part in today’s ceremony at Hydebank Wood College, which was also attended by Head of Learning and Development at the Irish Prison Service, David Clarke.
Wishing today’s graduating class success in their future careers, Mr Clarke said: “I am delighted to have taken part in today’s Passing Out ceremony and am committed to continuing this important and ongoing corporation between the Irish Prison Service and the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Both our organisations operate a very similar model of training for new recruits, which is viewed as exemplary practice within Europe, and it’s important that we continue to work together to grow and learn.”
The new recruits graduated following an intensive eight week training course and will start work with the Prison Service next week. A further 78 students are due to graduate in the coming months.
Attending the graduation ceremony this morning, Head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour said: “It was heartening to see much hard work rewarded at today’s Passing Out ceremony. The people who have graduated today will continue to bring energy and innovation to the Northern Ireland Prison Service and this is to be welcomed. It is the aim of the Prison Service to challenge those in our care, and to support them to change and I do not doubt, having spoken to some of our new recruits today, that they will be a driving force in this.
“Staff in our prisons make a difference every day; they are challenging inappropriate, offending behaviour and they are helping people deal with addictions and mental health issues. In the past 12 months numerous lives have been saved by the prompt action of prison staff who have prevented individuals taking their own lives. Put simply, those working in the Prison Service keep believing when everyone else has given up; believing that even the most challenging offender can change.
“With the support of our experienced officers, today’s new recruits will grow and develop and support the Northern Ireland Prison Service to help create a safe community for Northern Ireland, where we respect the law and each other.
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