AQW 26228/11-15

Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley
Democratic Unionist Party
Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Tabled Date: 25/09/2013
Answered On Date: 10/10/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of Justice, in relation to the comments made by Dr Tony Pearson in the Prison Review Team Report of June 2009 that the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) must operate a fair and efficient disciplinary system with zero tolerance for criminal offences, whether (i) the NIPS operates a zero tolerance system, and if not, to detail the rationale; and (ii) whether he will place a copy of NIPS policy and procedures pertaining to proper and effective handling of the alleged commission of criminal offences by all operational prison staff in the Assembly Library.

With regard to the handling of criminal offences in the Northern Ireland Prison Service the Professional Code of Conduct states the following:
(i)Members of staff must report to their manager as soon as possible if they have been arrested, charged or convicted by a court of any criminal offence. Failure to do so may be considered to be a disciplinary matter;
(ii)A criminal conviction, whether related to work or otherwise, may lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The main considerations which the Manager will take into account in deciding what action is appropriate are whether the offence impairs the business of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, brings the Northern Ireland Prison Service or the staff member into disrepute, or makes the individual unsuitable for their type of work; and
(iii)Where a member of staff is convicted of an offence and receives a custodial or suspended sentence or a Community Service Order as a result of a criminal conviction, their employment will automatically be terminated.
Copies of the new Professional Code of Conduct and the new Professional Code of Ethics have been placed in the Assembly Library.