Former Belmarsh Prison governor will be Maghaberry's new chief
The man who ran one of Britain's toughest jails has been appointed as the new governor of HMP Maghaberry.
Phil Wragg was governor of HMP Belmarsh - a category A maximum security prison in south London - from 2008 to 2014. He will also be director of policy and operations for the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS).
Maghaberry is Northern Ireland's main high-security jail, housing both republican and loyalist paramilitaries.
NIPS chief Sue McAllister said: "Phil Wragg has over 25 years' experience working in prisons, including governing Belmarsh which houses some of the most challenging individuals in custody." Mr Wragg takes up his new role on July 27.
Finlay Spratt, chairman of the Prison Officers' Association, said he had no previous knowledge of Mr Wragg, but would be taking soundings from colleagues in England over the next few days.
Mr Spratt has previously identified staffing as the critical issue facing the management of prisons in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Stormont's Justice Committee in 20914, he said: "We are having staffing levels imposed on us that are applicable to England and Wales. Across the water, there are anything up to 135 prisons, and they can spread disruptive prisoners all over the place.
"In Northern Ireland, we have two prisons and one juvenile prison, so we cannot spread that load. Yet and all, staffing levels that are applicable to England and Wales are being imposed on us."