Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie MC has broadly welcomed a report from the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland which indicates that the amount of prisoners recalled to prison after being released on licence has decreased, but warned that public safety must be the primary consideration in decision making.
The Upper Bann MLA, who is also his Party’s Justice Spokesperson, said:
“I believe that it is important we have a humane prison system which offers offenders the opportunity to modify their behaviour and re-integrate themselves back into society.
“It is therefore reasonable that prisoners should be released on licence with the opportunity to make a fresh start but it is however essential that the over-riding consideration is one of public safety and the public interest. If people re-offend or are likely to pose a danger to the public, then of course they should be recalled.
“The report from Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland says that of 2,505 offenders released from custody up until August 2015, 723 or 29% were subsequently recalled to prison – a drop of six per cent.
“This is good news which indicates that the system is by and large working, but we should not obsess about the figures or statistics. I say again, that public safety is key and should be the primary consideration in deciding whether or not a prisoner should be released and/or recalled.”