Funding must be secured to ensure inmates receive proper mental health care, a local MLA has demanded.
Mr Robbie Butler, MLA urged the Stormont Justice Minister “to give an assurance that the required funding will be made available.”
He issued his call following questions to the Minister in the Chamber on the issue.
Mr Butler said: “Perhaps the Minister and the Executive could examine the possibility that crime could be reduced in the community if prisoners – once inside – had their mental health issues dealt with effectively so that there was less likely a chance they would re-offend once they were released.”
He added: “While I campaign relentlessly for funding for the development of effective mental health provision of law-abiding citizens in our community, the Executive also has a responsibility to provide funding for the mental wellbeing of those in jail.
“So that when they are released, they can be integrated back into the community and not tempted to re-offend.”
“By investing in the mental health of the prison community, we are helping to make our society safer – but it requires a funding commitment from the Justice Minister, her department and the entire Stormont Executive if this much-needed initiative is to become a reality,” said Assemblyman Butler.