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Magilligan prisoners allowed to watch films featuring rape, murder, torture and robberies

By David Dawson

Published 13/08/2016

Brad Pitt holds a knife during a scene in Inglourious Basterds
Brad Pitt holds a knife during a scene in Inglourious Basterds
A man is chained up in Saw III

Inmates at Magilligan Prison near Limavady are able to watch films featuring mass murder, robberies, torture, explicit sex scenes and even rape, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

A number of DVDs are available from the prison tuck shop, including Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, which features gruesome murder scenes, Saw III, an American horror film full of blood, gore, torture and death, and Love and Other Drugs, which has sex scenes.

Other films include Harry Potter, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Love Actually, The Italian Job, Planet of the Apes, Pretty Woman, Coyote Ugly, Rambo and Rocky Balboa.

James Bond films such as Licence to Kill, Goldfinger, Octopussy, From Russia With Love, Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me and The Man with the Golden Gun are also available.

There is also a large collection of television shows available.

The list of DVDs was released following a freedom of information request by this newspaper.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said: "The general rule at Magilligan Prison is that if you or I can purchase a DVD in a shop or online, for example, Amazon, then a prisoner can also purchase it."

But prison authorities were criticised by TUV leader Jim Allister after it emerged that a film which features a graphic rape scene is also available for inmates to watch.

Death Wish, an action thriller directed by Michael Winner and starring Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, sparked controversy when it was released in 1974 due its support of vigilantism and depiction on graphic violence, particularly a brutal rape scene.

The spokesman for the Justice Department explained that Magilligan Prison holds a list of banned DVDs "that at different times have been identified as being unsuitable".

"Every effort is made by tuck shop staff to minimise inappropriate content being purchased," he added.

But in response Mr Allister said: "Prison should be about convicts repaying their debt to society and ultimately being released as reformed individuals who have learned their lesson and can make a positive contribution.

"The public will be alarmed to learn that material of this nature is how prisoners pass their time when in their cells."

"Films such as Death Wish, which has been described as an 'immoral threat to society' should have no place in prisons.

"When the Assembly returns I will be pressing the Justice Minister to ensure that robust policies are put in place to prevent prisoners having access to violent and pornographic material."

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