Number of female prison inmates highest in five years

By Gary Adair

A new report by the BBC has revealed that the number of women in prison in Northern Ireland has reached its highest level in the past five years.

The number of prisoners at Hydebank Wood Prison has reached as high as 84 in recent weeks, and increase on the daily average of 57 this time last year.

Female inmates are typically housed in Ash House, which has a capacity of 71 and is also used to treat young offenders. Due to the increased number of inmates, however, the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) has confirmed that some inmates have had to be housed in additional facilities.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice recognised that the increased number of inmates represented a cause for concern, and stated that the Department would be reviewing and revising its strategy for women in the justice system. They went on to state that this review would include an investigation into issues such as accommodation, mental health support, and the provision of social care.

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