To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the challenges facing the Northern Ireland Prison Service; whether prison officers have requested the removal of some governors; and whether that matter was considered during discussions on the devolution of policing and justice to Northern Ireland.
The challenges facing the Prison Service are kept under constant review by the Prisons Minister and Prison Management. The key challenge facing the Prison Service is the move away from an environment focused on security concerns to one that seeks to engage with inmates to address effectively the causes of offending behaviour. This requires a new approach by prison officers that is being developed as part of a comprehensive programme of workforce reform. Much has already been achieved with the introduction of new sentencing arrangements with the emphasis on risk assessment and the delivery of appropriate programmes.
In addition, parts of the prison estate are not fit for purpose and this is being taken forward as part of a comprehensive that strategy which includes the replacement of the prison at Magilligan.
Prison Officers have not requested the removal of any governors.