NI: Maghaberry changes signalled after scathing report

Chief inspector of Criminal Justice NI, Brendan McGuigan

A new prison facility could be built at Maghaberry Prison to house high risk and dangerous prisoners following a scathing inspection report published last week.

The report, which described the prison as “unsafe, unstable and in a state of crisis”, said a small number of dissident republican and loyalist prisoners were demanding a disproportionate amount of prison resources.

It was jointly written by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Prisons in England and Wales, Nick Hardwick, and the chief inspector of Criminal Justice NI, Brendan McGuigan.

There are currently 32 dissident republican inmates held in blocks called Roe House behind an internal security fence at Maghaberry, while some loyalists are held in nearby blocks called Bush House.

If a new facility is built for dangerous inmates, the rest of Maghaberry could be reclassified as a Category C prison, requiring lower security and staffing levels.

Phil Wragg, governor of Maghaberry, said: “How we operate Roe House is under review at the moment to see whether there is an opportunity for us to consider operating a separate regime, a separated facility.

“The discussions at the moment are that the facility, if there was to be one, would be within Maghaberry.”

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