Hostel Staff Are ‘Under Pressure’

Staff who work in hostels which accommodate former prisoners, including sex offenders, are under considerable pressure.

This is according to a Criminal Justice report which looked at six facilities in Northern Ireland.

It made a total of 19 recommendations for improvement and said some hostels were clearly performing better than others.

However, it did say they all provide a “suitable level of supervision”.

But the chief inspector of criminal justice, Kit Chivers, said there was still work to be done.

“The main recommendations are organisational ones, really directed to the agencies which manage the system,” said Mr Chivers.

“They’re directed to the sex offenders management committee and to the Probation Board.”

“And they’re about thinking about how you make sure this system is managed in a way that gets the most value out of it. To make sure decisions are taken quickly and offenders are put in the most suitable accommodation.”

The inspections upon which the report is based were carried out in September 2007.

Mr Chivers, said inspectors saw “good practice in managing difficult people”.

“They play a valuable and important role in assisting in the assessment and management of the risks posed by offenders who the courts and other agencies have decided should be released from prison,” he said.

The report also states that risk management is taken seriously in each of the premises, but that the facilities should not replicate prisons.

The Criminal Justice Inspection said it would continue to monitor the facilities.