Belfast Telegraph

Jail governor suspended amid probe

The governor of a young offenders and women's prison in Northern Ireland has been suspended.

Gary Alcock was temporarily removed from his post following concerns raised about the regime at Hydebank Wood in south Belfast by the region's prisoner ombudsman.

It is understood the issues identified by Pauline McCabe relate to her investigation into the death of a female prisoner who killed herself in custody last year.

Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) director general Colin McConnell took the decision to suspend Mr Alcock - a move described by the NIPS as "precautionary".

An independent investigation will be conducted into the issues raised by Mrs McCabe.

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said Mr McConnell was in discussions with the National Offender Management Service and the Scottish Prison Service to identify an individual to take forward the probe.

She said an interim senior governor had already filled Mr Alcock's position.

"The director general has written to the prisoner ombudsman setting out the steps he has taken following the allegations," she added.

"It is anticipated that the investigation will take weeks to complete and the Prison Service will not be commenting while the investigation is ongoing."

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