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Response to prison review report

28 Feb 2011

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has responded to the interim report by the Prison Review Team published today by Justice Minister David Ford.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner’ Professor Monica McWilliams’ said:

‘This review highlights the need to commence the reform of the Northern Ireland Prison system now’ including a restructuring of its staff. Many of the report’s findings are also consistent with the Commission’s longstanding human rights concerns relating to the detention of women and those in custody with mental illness.

‘The review highlights that far too many women are still in prison for failing to pay their TV licenses and those alternatives to custody are long overdue. The recommendations for those with mental health illness and improved services in the community are also to be supported. The Commission agrees that a positive and decent regime for separated Republican and Loyalist prisoners needs to be put in place. The Commission calls on the Minister of Justice to act upon these recommendations urgently.’

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