Belfast Telegraph

Maghaberry Prison not fit for purpose, MLAs are told

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Northern Ireland's main high-security prison is "not fit for purpose", Assembly members have been told.

Sinn Fein MLA Meave McLaughlin said concerns were mounting about Maghaberry Prison, which houses some of the region's most dangerous criminals.

"There are increasing growing concerns that Maghaberry is not fit for purpose," she said.

Rejecting the claims during Question Time, Justice Minister David Ford said the appointment of a new governor and 35% reduction in staff sickness levels had addressed some of the major issues identified at the jail.

Mr Ford said: "I don't accept that Maghaberry is not fit for purpose.

"I do accept that it appears likely that the Criminal Justice Inspection report - a snapshot report from an unannounced inspection sometime ago - is likely to show that there were significant concerns at the time."

As well as life sentence prisoners, rapists and armed robbers, Maghaberry includes segregated wings for dissident republican and loyalist paramilitary inmates.

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