SUNDAY, MAY 6: A top UK prisons expert is to review the jail system in Bermuda, it was revealed on Sunday.

Justice Minister and Attorney General Kim Wilson announced the move in an apparent U-turn on Government's previous position that a review would be carried out by managment experts from Bermuda.

Now Phil Wheatley, a former Director General of HM Prisons in England and Wales, will examine the Bermuda prison service and produce a five-year plan.

Prison Officers' Association chief Craig Clarke could not be contacted for comment tonight (Sunday).

But last month, he and his members demanded a review by an outside expert - and warned the safety of officers and prisoners was at risk.

Ms Wilson said the move came following a meeting with Mr Clarke last week to discuss officers' concerns.

She added: "The Attorney General and Minister of Justice will continue to honour the Government's commitment to ensure that all outstanding matters pertaining to the Department of Corrections are addressed in a timely manner and within financial constraints to effect operation efficiency, fair remuneration and security in all Corrections facilities that reflect best practices."

Ms Wilson said she had also told the POA that new fencing had been completed around maximum security units and new CCTV cameras had been installed at the Co-Ed Facility.

She added that Commissioner of Corrections Edward Lamb had set up a Security Review Committee to review security in the prison system amd make recommendations on saferty and security.

Mr Wheatley, currently the Director General of the National Offender Management Service in England and Wales, has worked in prisons since 1969.

He introduced the first effective performance management system into the English and Welsh prison service, which delivered improved statistics on security and human rights.

Ms Wilson said: "Mr Wheatley has a wealth of experience, having performed reviews of the prison service in Northern Ireland, Barbados and the Ukraine recently.

"I also note that he came up from the ranks from prison officer to Governor of Hull Prison."

Mr Wheatley will work alongside Government's management services team, looking at policy, leadership, management, operations, infrastructure and legislative reform.