18/10/2019

New Prison Block Opens At Maghaberry

A new accommodation block with 372 cells has opened at HM Prison Maghaberry.

The facility, established with a £54 million investment, marks a new era for the Prison Service according to the Head of the Civil Service.

It is the largest capital build undertaken by the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) in over 30 years and the largest within the Department of Justice since it was established in 2010.

Among the cells collectively named as Davis House are 24 observation cells, eight listener cells and eight universal access cells. The building also houses a 12 bed 'safer cell unit' equipped for vulnerable prisoners.

Opening the new block on Thursday, David Sterling said: "Davis House marks the beginning of a new and innovative chapter for the Prison Service. It will support the staff at Maghaberry and its partners in delivering key Programme for Government priorities, not just in relation to justice but also in terms of healthcare, education, skills and employability."
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David House was named after Stephen Davis, the former Governor of Maghaberry, who passed away in 2017.

Mr Sterling said the development has created local jobs and makes a significant contribution to the local economy.

Ronnie Armour, Director General of the NI Prison Service said: "The opening of Davis House is a hugely significant day for everyone in the Prison Service. The building has been designed to put rehabilitation at the centre of everything we do and to support those who are vulnerable and have particular needs.

"Just over three years ago Maghaberry was described as unsafe, unstable and one of the most dangerous prisons in Europe. Inspectors now say it is delivering some of the best outcomes it has seen. Davis House is the next step in Maghaberry's evolution.

"This investment will help the Prison Service, and our partners, to support and challenge the men in our care to change. That is our primary role, and that is how we play our part in building a safer community."



(JG/CM)

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