Speaking following Sunday night’s incident at the Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre, Lady Hermon said:
“The incident at Woodlands on Sunday evening was deeply worrying, and I send my very best wishes to the three members of staff who were injured by the young man in the Juvenile Justice Centre. It’s important to remember that the Centre has no ability whatsoever to pick and choose the young people who are sent to it. That’s down to the courts, but it is nevertheless a very secure unit.
Having spoken at length to the Justice Minister Paul Goggins within the Northern Ireland Office and after an hour-long visit on Tuesday to Woodlands itself, it is my clear understanding that the incident was not caused by staff shortages. On the contrary, such are the complex needs of this particular young offender that he was being intently supervised by three staff members. He did, however, manage to injure all three in quick succession.
After talking to a number of the staff during my visit, I must say I have the greatest admiration for their sense of unflagging dedication to what can only be described as extremely difficult and challenging work. They are undoubtedly a remarkable group of people and I have sought assurances from the Minister that every effort will be made to provide them with additional support and any further available training, which they feel would assist them.”
January 30th, 2008