Justice Minister Naomi Long has paid tribute to staff across the justice system in Northern Ireland on Hidden Heroes Day
Hidden Heroes Day was established by the Butler Trust to pay tribute to the people working in prisons, youth justice and probation across the UK.
Praising the work of Northern Ireland Prison Service staff, Minister Long said: "During the pandemic a huge amount of good work was done by prison staff which was largely unseen. As our prisons continue to recover from the huge challenges they faced over past two years, it is right that we recognise their pivotal role in delivering a safer community.
The Minister also praised Northern Ireland Probation Board staff for "ensuring that crucial services are delivered in our communities, right across Northern Ireland".
"The work of probation staff is vital. Not only to service users in terms of supporting their rehabilitation, but also in keeping our communities safer. Helping to rebuild people's lives and challenging them to change takes extraordinary resilience, commitment and professionalism, and for that I am very grateful."
The Minister went on to pay tribute to the work of Youth Justice Agency staff. "They work daily with the children and young people who sadly enter the criminal justice system. They help and guide those young people to make the right choices through health and learning for a positive, brighter future. This not only benefits the children themselves and their families, but also wider society.
"To all of our dedicated staff across the justice system, I want to say thank you, you really are hidden heroes."