Irish News

Sunday 21 September 2014

'Still much room for improvement'

Published 17/12/2012 | 00:04

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The director general of the Prison Service says she is encouraged by the latest inspection at Maghaberry Jail

The Northern Ireland Prison Service director general has said she is encouraged by the latest inspection report on Maghaberry jail.

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But Sue McAllister also claimed improvements could be made.

"While there is still much room for improvement, progress has been made in three of the four 'healthy prison' tests, with the fourth remaining unchanged," Ms McAllister said.

"I particularly welcome the improvements in safety, though accept that some issues remain unresolved, and in resettlement, where the outcomes for prisoners were assessed as being reasonably good."

In January 2009 a Criminal Justice Inspectorate concluded that the high security Co Antrim jail was performing either "poorly" or "not sufficiently good" and raised safety as a particular concern.

After the most recent announced inspection in March, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland Brendan McGuigan found that bullying was rife among inmates and claimed the prison authorities were not doing enough to protect them.

Ms McAllister said the governor of Maghaberry had her total support.

She said some of the issues raised were being addressed as part of the wider prison estate strategy that would see Maghaberry reconfigured into three mini prisons.

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