Justice Minister Claire Sugden this evening attended a service at St. Patrick’s Church, Donegall Street, Belfast to mark Prisons Week.
Prisons Week encourages everyone to remember victims of crime, those who work in our prisons, prisoners and their families and all those connected with the justice sector in Northern Ireland. Prisons Week runs from 9-15 October.
The ecumenical service was led by Father Stephen McBrearty, chaplain at Hydebank Wood College. Representatives of other religious denominations were also in attendance at the service.
Claire Sugden said: “For most people in our community, prisons are not something they regularly think about and when they do there is often a negative view on what takes place inside the walls. However, it is important to remember that prisons are part of the community in Northern Ireland. Prison staff work on behalf of everyone in Northern Ireland and I want to pay particular tribute to them for their role in building a safer Northern Ireland.
“They support prisoners to rebuild their lives, to address their offending behaviour and to play a positive role when they return to the community. This service also reminds us of the many people working across the justice family who work with victims, prisoners and their families on a daily basis to give them the support they need.”
The service was attended by representatives from justice agencies, from the voluntary and community sectors and by families of prisoners. Readings were given by Minister Claire Sugden and Sue McAllister, Director General of the Prison Service.