“To retain the good work that is being done at the prison..”

The parliamentary Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has published its report on the Review of the NI Prison Service [pdf version here] and, as predicted, they have recommended “that extensive prison facilities are rebuilt on the Magilligan site.”From the conclusions and recommendations in the report

7. We conclude that the existing prison buildings at Magilligan are inadequate and that they need to be replaced as a matter of priority. To retain the good work that is being done at the prison, particularly in the area of resettlement, we recommend that extensive prison facilities are rebuilt on the Magilligan site. (Paragraph 59)

And, as reported here, they have also had something to say on the separation of prisoners

16. Given the history of the Maze prison, where paramilitary groups took control of their wings from the prison authorities, and given the more recent evidence of threats to prison officers, we recognise that a degree of controlled movement on the separated wings is necessary. However, we also acknowledge with regret that the maintenance of this regime has inevitably had a negative impact on the educational and recreational opportunities available to some of these prisoners as well as the wider prisoner community. It is an issue which must be kept under constant review. (Paragraph 99)

17. In his evidence to the Committee on 21 November, the Minister acknowledged that it would be desirable to see separation phased out as the political situation improved but he was quite clear that he did not envisage an early end to separation. We believe that ending separation should be a high priority for those responsible for criminal justice after devolution and we would welcome an early debate on this issue among Northern Ireland’s political representatives. (Paragraph 103)

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