AQO 135/17-22

Mr Gerry Kelly
Sinn Féin
North Belfast

Tabled Date: 06/02/2020
Answered On Date: 17/02/2020
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of Justice for an update on the review into the care of vulnerable people in prison.

Both the Northern Ireland Prison Service and the South Eastern Trust have undertaken significant work to keep those who are placed in custody safe.
A joint Suicide and Self-Harm Risk Management Strategy and a joint Management of Substance Misuse Strategy are now in place and a new approach to supporting people at risk of Suicide and Self-harm has been introduced. This work has led to an 18% reduction in instances of self-harm across the Prison Service and a 53% reduction among the young men at Hydebank Wood Secure College.
Both organisations have also adopted the towards zero suicide approach and a psychiatrist specialising in mental health and addictions issues has been appointed at Maghaberry Prison.
However, it is the case that three years after my predecessor and the then Health Minister commissioned the review the work has still not been completed.
Initial work was undertaken by the two Departments but was stalled when it was concluded that an independent element was required to ensure credibility. The RQIA have been asked to undertake this review but due to other pressures have been unable to do so.
It is my intention to discuss this matter urgently with the Health Minister with a view to ensuring this work is completed urgently.