Sinn Féin MLA and member of the Justice Committee, Sean Lynch, said Justice Minister David Forde must take ownership of the radical change needed in the Prison Service.
Speaking after a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Justice Minister not to delay in implementing the recommendations of the the Prison Review Team Sean Lynch said:
“The reform of the Prison Service is one of the biggest challenges David Forde will face in his role as Minister of Justice.
“The Anne Owers Review is the latest in a series of critical reports and reviews into the Prison Service. All had a common thread - the Prison Service is not fit for purpose, living in a different era and in need of fundamental root and branch change.
“What they present in their recommendations is the need for radical transformation to bring the prisons here into the 21st century. The words of the Review team were clear – ‘Incremental improvements are not enough’.
“The momentum must not be lost and change should not be left to those who have been in charge to date. I call on the Minister to ensure this happens. He must take ownership and become the driver in the overall managing process.
“The report states clearly ‘that the next six months are vital’ and I agree. A delay will give those with the intention of cherry-picking and who have a culture of resistance, the chance to gain the upper hand, leaving the Minister with an even greater challenge.” We must therefore see action now.”