Scot in charge of NI prison service reform
A SCOT has been handed the challenge of reforming Northern Ireland's troubled prison regime.
The appointment of Colin McConnell, 50, to the 100,000-a-year post as director general, is the first step of an attempt by the government to try and overhaul the UK's most expensive jail system.
With a current budget of 131 million he will be expected to make savings of 39m over the next four years.
Mr McConnell, who is originally from Edinburgh, faces a tough challenge, especially in the aftermath of some highly critical reports by Northern Ireland's prisons ombudsman, Pauline McCabe, and the Criminal Justice Inspectorate, which described industrial relations as "destructive".
Mr McConnell, a father of five, takes over as director after eight months on secondment as director of operations for the prison service in Northern Ireland.
Mr McConnell said: "I am under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge ahead, to transform and modernise a proud prison service.
"I know there will be difficulties ahead.
"However, doing nothing is not an option and I am determined to deliver on the minister's commitment to reform the prison service."
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