In-Person Prison Visits To Return From 31 January

In-person prison visits are to return from Monday 31 January, the Department for Justice has announced.

Visits were temporarily suspended after Christmas in response to the Omicron variant.

NI Prison Service Director General, Ronnie Armour said: "Keeping people safe has been our top priority throughout the pandemic. Prisons, like all sections of the community, responded to the threat posed by Omicron by restricting access to our prisons. As that threat recedes we can now take steps to recommence our recovery.

"No-one should underestimate the challenges this pandemic has presented to our staff, partners and indeed those we look after. Our staff have shown they will respond in an appropriate manner when the threat increases, but also when that diminishes.

"Therefore I am pleased to announce that in-person visits, including legal visits, will start again next week."

The Director General also announced that delivery partners will recommence their support services and prison libraries are to re-open. Packages, including paperback books, will also be accepted on specific days at each prison and on request.

Ronnie Armour continued: "Our partners play a crucial role in supporting rehabilitation and we are again in the position to facilitate and support that work. The opening of our libraries is a further step towards a full and productive day for the people in our care.

"While this is a significant day on our road to recovery, we cannot be complacent. The threat of Covid-19 is real and that is particularly challenging in a prison.

"However we will continue to be proactive in our response to Covid-19 and to relax restrictions when it is safe to do so. The safety of everyone in prison remains our focus."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 July 2024
Voters Urged To Support Candidates Prepared To Work For NI
Ulster Unionist Leader, Doug Beattie, has called on voters to support candidates prepared to represent Northern Ireland at Westminster.
03 July 2024
Minister Murphy Outlines Ongoing Skills Agenda
Ministers have welcomed a "concrete roadmap for delivering transformational change" in NI's skills agenda, as Economy Minister Conor Murphy updated the Assembly on new interventions to underpin his Economic Vision.
10 July 2024
Tax Credit Recipients Urged To Take Action On 'Move To UC' Notice
People in receipt of tax credits only and who have received a 'Move to UC' notice has been urged to take action, as the final phase of a migration procedure gets underway.
10 July 2024
New Funding Announced For Substance Abuse Project
Funding of £200,000 has been announced for a new project to help those experiencing substance use and/or mental health difficulties. Health Minister Mike Nesbitt announced the funding during a visit to ARC Fitness, a community based not-for-profit addiction recovery organisation based in L'Derry.
09 July 2024
New £1.9m Jobstart Scheme For Over-50s
The Department for Communities has announced a new £1.9 million scheme to help boost employment opportunities for the over-50s. JobStart 50+ will provide around 180 jobs across a range of sectors in a 'test and learn' pilot exercise funded by the UK government.