NI prisons head confirms releases


The new head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirmed yesterday that the first paramilitary prisoners to be released under the Belfast Agreement are scheduled to be freed from the Maze next week.

Mr Robin Halward, who replaces Mr Alan Shannon as director-general of the prison service, also confirmed that jobs in the service would be lost before the end of the year.

There is speculation that up to 1,000 prison officers could lose their jobs as more prisoners are released.