Maghaberry Staff Need Support For Progress To Continue- UUP

An Ulster Unionist Party MLA has called for more staff protections at Maghaberry Prison to help employees feel safe and valued.

It follows a recent report by the Criminal Justice Inspection (CJI) and Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons in England, which revealed that significant process has been made at the prison, to make it a safer and more stable environment.

Doug Beattie MLA, the party's Justice Spokesperson, welcomed the news but called for further safeguarding of those at "the sharp end of the prison system".

He said: "I am encouraged by the new Criminal Justice Inspection report on HMP Maghaberry. I would echo where it says that the leadership of the Prison has been excellent and that staff are professional, motivated and engaging in a positive manner. 
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"I would go further in saying that the staff are the absolute backbone of the prison and as such deserve high praise for what they have achieved with reduced numbers and serious concerns about working practices and pay.

"However it must be noted that there is a lot of room for improvement."

Mr Beattie explained that of the four key tests in the inspection of the facility, only one was classed as 'good', another 'reasonably good' and the remaining two as 'not sufficiently good'. 

According to the UUP MLA, this is evidence that some prisoners are being "adversely affected".

"Problems/concerns, if left unattended, are likely to become areas of serious concern.

"This report is clearly moving in the right direction. It is important that the Department for Justice continues to support and resource the Northern Ireland Prison Service - its members and its key staff - so that this improvement can continue."


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