The report, which was described by CJINI as the most positive on any aspect of the Prison Service, looked at the escorting of detained persons to and from courts, prisons and other places of detention, and the care and treatment of those whilst in their custody.
Four years ago CJINI highlighted a number of concerns, including the treatment of prisoners and the cost effectiveness of the Service.
David Ford said: The Parole Commissioners in Northern Ireland have a vital role within the criminal justice system, and I welcome CJINI s assessment of the progress that has been made in ensuring that they receive full support while maintaining their operational independence.
The follow up report from CJINI also noted that the introduction of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Parole Commissioners and the NICTS would help clarify the boundaries of their respective roles following PCNI s transfer to the NICTS in May 2012.
David Ford said: "The report published by CJINI
acknowledges that the scientific expertise provided by FSNI has been maintained at a high level.
Chief inspector with the CJINI
Dr Michael Maguire, who produced the report, said major changes in the system were needed.
Chief Inspector Dr Michael Maguire said urgent action is needed to bring the facility up to the standards expected of a 21st century prison.
The Minister was responding to the publication of a Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) report on approved premises which recognises the important role these facilities play in terms of their contribution to the public protection arrangements in Northern Ireland, in assisting offenders resettle back into society and reducing their risk of reoffending.
David Ford said: This is a positive report confirming practices within approved premises have advanced and working relationships strengthened since the last CJINI report in July 2008.
The Minister was responding to the publication of a Criminal Justice Inspection (CJINI
) follow up report into the service which found that there had been an increase in the number of offenders commencing work within 10 days of their Community Service Order as well as an increase in the average number of hours worked.