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Prison Service believes in the reform of offenders even when others in society have given up on them

letter of the day: rehabilitation

Prisons conjure up many images in the mind's eye - bars on windows, barbed wire on fences and a cadre of people who've done wrong against society.

What you may not imagine, but maybe should imagine, is a place where there is no giving up.

This is Prisons Week, a week that was conjured up by a group of prison chaplains over three decades ago to bring a focus to the issue of prisons, of the people who work in them, who serve in them and who are impacted by them, be it victims of crime, or the families of those who are placed in custody.

This year, the theme of Prisons Week is Press On - a very apt theme.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service is built on the understanding that we press on regardless, despite the many challenges we face, to help make the community safer by supporting people to change.

Last month, the Prison Service lost a trusted colleague and friend when the governor of Maghaberry, Stephen Davis, passed away after a short illness.

Steve cared passionately about the Prison Service, his colleagues and the prisoners he was responsible for. He saw the role of the Prison Service in very simple terms: "Our job is to keep believing when everyone else gives up."

He never stopped believing in the Northern Ireland Prison Service, the dedicated staff he worked with and the people the Prison Service supported, time and time again, to change their offending behaviour.

In Prisons Week, like every other week, the Prison Service will keep believing that people can change and press on with our work to build a safer community for Northern Ireland.

RONNIE ARMOUR

Head, Northern Ireland Prison Service

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