Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Thursday, 12 June 2008 12:54 UK

Women's prison 'is needed in NI'

Female prisoner
A separate women's prison is needed, the report says

The needs of female prisoners in Northern Ireland are unlikely to be met until they have a separate jail, a newly published report says.

It was compiled by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in NI.

Female prisoners are currently kept at Ash House, in the grounds of Hydebank Young Offenders Centre.

The report said improvements had been made since 2004 - its last unannounced inspection - but inadequacies remained.

"Despite the best efforts of the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS), it is simply not practical to properly deliver aspects of the system such as healthcare, transport, visits and work on a single site that accommodates both male and female prisoners," the inspectors said.

"We therefore again urge the NIPS to establish a separate facility to meet the specific needs of women prisoners as quickly as possible."

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