The Head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, today welcomed the findings of a new report on Magilligan Prison.
The report, which criminal justice inspectors said is the most positive produced on a prison in Northern Ireland, was conducted by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate NI (CJINI) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), and carried out at the medium-security prison near Limavady.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Mr Armour said: “This latest report demonstrates the progress which has been made at Magilligan Prison. By creating opportunities to improve skills, employability and self-confidence, those in our care are encouraged to address their offending behaviour and work towards playing a constructive role when they return to the community.
“Importantly, the report highlights that rehabilitation is truly at the heart of all we do at Magilligan Prison, with resettlement work identified as a significant strength. This, along with the strong work we are doing to support men in maintaining relationships with their children, families and friends, is helping to support people to change their offending behaviour and, hopefully, build safer communities.
Commending the work of the Governors and staff at Magilligan Prison who have helped to develop a progressive custodial establishment, Mr Armour added: “Today’s positive report has been delivered through the leadership of former Governor Austin Treacy and the staff at the prison. It is vital that work is built upon under the current Governor Gary Milling, his senior team and everyone working to support people in our care.
“The report also highlights where Magilligan can continue to progress, in particular in supporting vulnerable prisoners and those with self-harm or mental health issues. As ever, we will continue to work to ensure that all those in our care have the support they need.”
Claire Sugden MLA said “Well done to the staff and new leadership at Magilligan Prison on a great report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate Northern Ireland.
We often hear of the negative stories coming from prisons, but today we have a positive report which highlights good models of rehabilitation led by prison staff.
During my time as Justice Minister it was my intention that staff on the ground would lead the way towards a better service. New leadership has supported this idea by supporting staff and we are now seeing results.
Despite the need for a new facility at Magilligan, staff have been able to create opportunities within the prison to improve skills and employability of prisoners so they are less likely to reoffend when back to the community after custody.
Hopefully this report will further strengthen the case for a new facility at Magilligan as soon as we can get an Executive in place.”