Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said a hearing of a Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is an important opportunity to address major issues of concern within Maghaberry Prison.
The Foyle MLA said:
“This Oireachtas Committee hearing is an opportunity to support the urgent need for continuing reform in Maghaberry Prison. As the recent Ombudsman Reports into the cases of Sean Lynch and Patrick Kelly demonstrate, there is much more work to do.
“All prisoners, prison staff, and visitors to the prison must be treated with respect and dignity.
“Prison conditions throughout Maghaberry are in need of significant attention and ongoing improvement and reform. The primacy of a security mindset is holding back the introduction of a comprehensive rehabilitative culture.
“The continued use of controlled movement and strip searching in Roe House is a serious concern. These practices need to end. They dehumanise both prison staff and prisoners. The agreed template between prisoners and prison staff from August 2010 remains the best way to deal with this situation.
“Respect for the Irish language and parity of esteem for the Irish identity are absent in Maghaberry Prison and this is unacceptable.
“Comprehensive reform in Maghaberry is needed to address these issues and ensure respect is shown to all inmates from all traditions.
“Those who are committed to comprehensive prison reform and the rights of both prisoners and prison staff in Maghaberry, within and outside the prison system deserve the support of this Joint Oireachtas hearing.”