This follows the publication of a report commissioned by the Minister in January which recommended the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust should expand its work to include retired prison staff.
Naomi Long said: “Just yesterday, I visited Maghaberry and spoke with staff as part of ‘Hidden Heroes Day’ and that theme could not be more apt when it comes to prison officers. They work in a challenging, complex and at times volatile environment that for most of society is out of sight and out of mind.
“Prison staff play a crucial role in keeping our community safe by supporting and challenging people to change. They deal with some of the most difficult and dangerous members of our community and they do so in a way that is professional, compassionate and caring.
“That can be, at times, a very difficult role and I believe it is right that when an officer retires that we continue to support them should they need it.
“The Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust has a track record of exemplary support and that will now be extended to include retired prison officers. Work will now begin to recruit additional clinicians and it is anticipated that the support will be in place early in the New Year.”