Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland prison chiefs 'have made a horlicks'

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has been branded a "complete horlicks" by the body that represents rank-and-file officers.

Finlay Spratt, chairman of the Prison Officers' Association (POA), launched a stinging attack on recent reforms during an appearance before a Stormont scrutiny committee.

It was claimed staff levels have been decimated while a punishing new rota system has left others facing burnout.

Mr Spratt told MLAs: "The Prison Service, as far as we are concerned, at the minute is a disaster". He said staff morale remained low and that new recruits, being paid half as much as "old hands" were "being thrown in at the deep end".

"The people who manage the Northern Ireland Prison Service have made a complete horlicks of it," added Mr Spratt.

Particular concerns were raised about Maghaberry jail, which was branded the UK's most dangerous prison in a damning report last year.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) said the high security facility was "a prison in crisis", with "unsafe and unstable" conditions.

Belfast Telegraph


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