Northern Ireland

Retired prison staff may reapply

Maghaberry prison

Prison officers who take the equivalent of the Patten redundancy scheme could still apply to become custody officers under a new wave of recruitment.

The justice committee at Stormont heard an officer could take a £100,000 package, plus an £18,000 a year pension and still apply for new jobs.

The redundancy scheme will cost about £60m over the next two years.

Employees have to state their interest in redundancy by 17 February.

The director-general of the Prison Service, Colin McConnell, said "solid progress" was being made on prison reform.

Earlier this month, the BBC revealed that hundreds of retired police officers had been re-employed by the PSNI.

The officers had left the police with generous Patten redundancy packages.