NI: Sugden cuts first sod ahead of new Maghaberry block construction

NI: Sugden cuts first sod ahead of new Maghaberry block construction

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister Claire Sugden yesterday cut the first sod in preparation for the construction of a new cell block at Maghaberry Prison.

The new £55 million accommodation block at the largest of Northern Ireland’s three prisons is due to be completed by 2019 and will include 360 cells over three levels.

Ms Sugden said: “This occasion marks an important step in the development of the prison estate in Northern Ireland.

“The new block will deliver modern and fit for purpose accommodation and allow at least three old square house blocks to be closed.

“Its design and specification will improve efficiency and create a decent and respectful environment for both staff and prisoners.

“This represents a significant investment in Maghaberry which will eventually see the site developing as three mini prisons.”

Ms Sugden was joined on her first trip to Maghaberry by Sue McAllister, director general of the NI Prison Service, and also met the new Maghaberry Governor Stephen Davis.

Mr Davis gave an overview of the establishment and outlined the ongoing work at the prison to deliver a safe, decent and secure environment for the rehabilitation of prisoners.

Ms McAllister said: “Investment in the prison estate in Northern Ireland is fundamental to the ongoing modernisation of the prison service.

“The creation of an additional 360 cell accommodation block at Maghaberry is a one key element of NIPS strategy to deliver a fit for purpose estate. Modern and well-designed accommodation encourages positive engagement between staff and prisoners and facilitates the delivery of better tailored regimes to assist prisoners in addressing their offending behaviour.”

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