Naomi Long orders review into prison officers’ work-related stress

Justice Minister Naomi Long is to commission a review of the measures in place to support prison officers who are experiencing work-related stress.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 15th June 2020, 12:01 am
Justice Minister Naomi Long said prison officers 'do outstanding work day and daily'
Justice Minister Naomi Long said prison officers 'do outstanding work day and daily'

Announcing what will be a short, focused review, Mrs Long said: “I am acutely aware of the challenging and unique role played by prison officers in Northern Ireland.

“They do outstanding work day and daily. I have discussed the importance of doing everything we can to support prison staff and build their resilience with the director general and senior governors.

“I have also listened carefully to my Assembly colleagues including Chris Lyttle and Doug Beattie who have written to me since I took up the justice portfolio and have been strong advocates for prison officers.

“While I think the service is doing much under the auspices of the Prisonswell Programme to support, prevent, assist and inform frontline officers in relation to health and wellbeing challenges they face, I want to be assured that what we are doing is sufficient and to consider if more needs to be done.

“I recognise that it is important that we take appropriate action whilst balancing the need to exercise a rigorous, sensitive and proportionate approach to reducing sick absence.”

Mrs Long added: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service has changed greatly in recent years and positive relationships between staff and those in their care has been at the heart of that. Prison services in other jurisdictions are now looking at Northern Ireland as an exemplar of best practice.”