Probation Board for Northern Ireland launch film “Changing Lives” to raise Awareness and Confidence in Community Sentencing

The Probation Board for Northern Ireland have published a film on YouTube to raise awareness of and confidence in community sentencing.

The 10-minute-long film “Changing Lives: The Inside Story of the Probation Service” shines a light on the impact community sentences have on the lives of people who have committed crime help them to break the cycle of offending. The film highlights real stories of transformation, providing a look at the realities faced by those on Probation.

Viewers will hear from Probation Officers, a service user, a victim of crime, a lecturer on Criminology and a District Court Judge. Each person interviewed tells of an important part about the work of Probation and how community sentencing can change lives for safer communities.

The film has been published online on the Probation Board for Northern Ireland YouTube channel at

Chief Executive Amanda Stewart said: “Probation is a public service which works to protect the public and reduce reoffending by supervising people who have offended in the community while overseeing their rehabilitation and resettlement.  Sometimes it can be difficult to articulate to the public exactly what probation does.  The best way of describing it, is that we help people to change their lives. This video shows in a simple way the work that Probation Officer’s carry out and the impact they can make on people’s lives”.

Che a service user featured in the film speaks of the changes he has made to his life: “I don’t know where I’d be without probation. I currently live in a temporary homeless shelter and my probation officer has been amazing and has helped me with my mental health and accessing housing. This is a second chance, and you can show to your family and the rest of the world that you’re not a bad person you’ve made mistakes but now you’re doing well.”

Criminologist Dr Brian Payne from Ulster University explains the benefit of community sentencing: “Community sentencing is an opportunity to promote people’s rehabilitation back into the community. Probation officers have extensive powers to ensure that a court order is upheld. They can go into people’s families and their houses, speak to their employers and make decisions that can be fed back to the courts. Whilst it can be difficult to directly compare sentences, research shows that people on community sentences are less likely to reoffend than those serving short prison sentences.”


Dr Brian Payne, Justice Minister Naomi Long, Lady Chief Justice The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan, Probation Chief Executive Amanda Stewart, Blue Lights Co-Creator Declan Lawn and Ulster University Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan at the launch of Probation’s film “Changing Lives: The Inside Story of the Probation Service”


  1. Keynote speaker at the launch was Lady Chief Justice The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan, along with Dr Brian Payne, Senior Lecturer and Course Director for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Ulster University. The Justice Minister Naomi Long MLA introduced the film and Probation Chief Executive Amanda Stewart also spoke. There was an audience with Blue Lights Co-Creator Declan Lawn followed by an engaging questions and answer session.
  2. The film can be accessed on YouTube at




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