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Independent inspections prove that Hydebank has been transformed beyond all recognition

In response to article entitled ‘Inmates control Northern Ireland Jail, say staff’ (Monday, December 12),  I was disappointed that there was no mention of the recent reports by the Criminal Justice Inspection NI and HM Inspectorate of Prisons (published on 27 October) into the practices and regime at Hydebank Wood College.

The reports followed an in-depth and independent inspection on all aspects of Hydebank and included interviews with staff and students.

The inspectors chronicled very clearly the transformation of Hydebank Wood over the last three years and acknowledged the high level of positive interaction between staff and students. The positive reports reflected the work of all the staff at Hydebank Wood to transform the centre into the first secure college in the UK.

In 2013, the inspection team described the then young offenders’ centre as a failing institution. Through local leadership and a determination by our staff and delivery partners, Hydebank Wood has been transformed.

The governor and his team are not complacent and know this work must be built upon, but a headline stating ‘inmates are in charge’ is wrong and does not reflect the findings of independent professional inspectors.

The Prison Service takes concerns of our colleagues very seriously and will continue to work with them and their staff associations to address any issues they may have.

All of our governors operate an open-door management policy and work closely on a day-to-day basis with their staff.

Prison staff are professional and deserve the respect of the entire community for the role they play in helping to build a safer Northern Ireland.

Phil Wragg

Director General (acting)

Northern Ireland Prison Service


Belfast Telegraph


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