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Ford praises Probation Board on excellent inspection report

Justice Minister David Ford has said the Probation Board and its staff should be proud of the significant contribution they make towards making Northern Ireland safer.
Thursday, 2 May 2013

This report confirms my understanding of the high quality supervision provided by the Probation Board.

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,Northern Ireland Department of Justice

The Minister was responding to the publication of an independent Criminal Justice Inspection report of how PBNI supervises offenders within the community.

In what the Chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan calls ‘one of the most positive reports that Criminal Justice Inspection has produced on a criminal justice agency’ the report says that in all three key areas the standard applied in Northern Ireland exceeds those in place in England and Wales.

The Minister paid a visit to the Probation Board NI Headquarters in Belfast to meet with staff and to congratulate them on the excellent work they do in their constructive and positive engagement with offenders.

David Ford said: “This report confirms my understanding of the high quality supervision provided by the Probation Board.

“Probation officers have a difficult and complex job so I welcome that this report recognises their work.

“Probation staff work day and daily with offenders, including serious offenders, to support their rehabilitation and reduce reoffending. Indeed, the report points to the positive working relationships that exist between offenders and those involved in their supervision. The quality of supervision by PBNI has been instrumental in ensuring that reoffending rates for those under supervision in Northern Ireland are amongst the lowest in the UK.

“I also wish to commend the leadership within the organisation, which was praised by the Inspectors. It is clear from this report that the ethos throughout the organisation is one of delivering public safety and reducing reoffending.”

Speaking following the publication of the CJI Report, Director of Probation, Brian McCaughey stated: “We welcome the report by CJI on how the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) supervises offenders within the community. In particular we welcome the Inspector’s statement that; ‘This is one of the most positive reports that CJI has produced on any criminal justice agency since it was established in 2004’.

“We take seriously our responsibility to hold offenders to account, to ensure they comply with court orders and licences and if they do not, we return them to court. Likewise risk assessments are an integral part of probation work. Our risk assessments are carried out by qualified staff and help inform our work with offenders and help prevent re-offending.

“PBNI however is far from complacent. We are constantly looking at how we work to best make communities in NI safer and we continue to look at new and innovative ways to work with others to prevent reoffending.”

Notes to editors:

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