Stephen Farry stated: “This is another worrying report on the situation within our prisons, in particular Maghaberry. It is important that the existing reform process is supported, and where necessary is strengthened. In particular, there needs to be a greater match between the making of policy and turning it into practice, including changes in the underlying culture within the prisons.
“It is right to show compassion and to adopt a humanitarian attitude towards those who are in prison, particularly towards vulnerable individuals. However, there is a much wider public interest to this. The ultimate objective must be to protect the public. Therefore, measures that help to rehabilitate prisoners and to address the risk of re-offending are very much in the public interest. This is especially the case with vulnerable prisoners. It must be borne in mind that virtually everyone who is sent to prison will one day be released. It is not in anyone’s interest for prisoners to be placed out of sight and out of mind.”