Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Conference held on safer prisons

A conference to promote a safer environment for prisoners and staff is to be held by the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

The Safer Custody Conference will take place at the Prison Service College in Millisle on Thursday.

Director General of the Prison Service, Colin McConnell, said: "Clearly the need for improvement is reinforced in the recently published interim Review of the Northern Ireland Prison Service report.

"The work being undertaken by our Safer Custody team is one of our top priorities."

Dennis Chirgwin, Head of Safer Custody and facilitator of the Conference, highlighted the need for a secure living and working environment for prisoners.

He said: "The reality is that often we need to protect some prisoners from themselves due to their inability to deal with the issues that life throws at them and turning to dangerous self harming behaviour as a coping mechanism.

"By adopting a non-judgmental approach and putting in place good supportive structures, a safe environment for prisoners to live in can be achieved."

The Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Pauline McCabe, will also be in attendance.