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Prisoners’ complaints have doubled in a year

Complaints made by people held in prison have almost doubled in the last year it has emerged.

The Prisoner Ombudsman’s annual report out today reveals that complaints from prisoners in Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank Wood have rocketed from 413 in 2010 to 717 in the period from April this year.

In total 328 of these complaints were deemed by the Prisoner Ombudsman to be “eligible” compared to 144 the previous year marking a 128% increase jump in eligible complaints.

The single biggest cause of complaint among prisoners was the “condition” of jails. In the past year prison chiefs received 73 complaints about the state of the jails, including the heating and lighting.

Staff attitude, which relates to the behaviour of prison officers, comments made and allegations of bullying were all the subject to 63 complaints in the period covered by the report.

In total 39 complaints were received about lockdown procedures while 30 inmates complained about searches.

Prisoner Ombudsman Pauline McCabe says the report highlights the need for prison reform.

Belfast Telegraph