Review of Prisons legislation
41. The Government has decided that, given the changes
both in the Prison Service and in the environment in which it
operates, the time may be right for a review of prisons legislation,
a substantial proportion of which dates from 1953.
Both the Prison Officers' Association (Northern Ireland)
and the Prison Governors' Association (Northern Ireland)
have been invited to take part in this review, as have a number
of interest groups in Northern Ireland.
The Prison Service hopes to be in a position to bring forward
a completely new legislative framework in the next Parliamentary
session, if a slot in the legislative programme is available.
42. The Prison Service has already completed a review
of its overall approach to prisoner grievance procedures. As a
result, it intends to create the position of Prisons Ombudsman
for Northern Ireland, another of the recommendations of our original
Report, in the course of the review and revision of prisons legislation.
We welcome both the review of prisons legislation applicable
in Northern Ireland and the acceptance of the proposal to create
a Prison Ombudsman, thus bringing Northern Ireland into line with
other United Kingdom jurisdictions. We recommend that the Government
make every effort to include the relevant legislation in its programme
for the 2001-02 Session.