Magilligan Prison ‘now likely to stay open’

HMP Magilligan. Paul Faith/PA Wire

HMP Magilligan. Paul Faith/PA Wire

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Magilligan Prison is now likely to stay open, the north’s prison’s Minster has said today.

Minister David Ford had been considering the prison’s closure following a review but this morning said he was “now inclined towards retaining a prison on the Magilligan site.”

He said: The Prison Review Team rightly observed the challenges that exist in terms of providing prisoners accommodated within Magilligan with adequate employment and rehabilitation opportunities. I accept too the Review team’s assessment that the prison’s remote location poses a significant challenge to maintaining effective family links – another key factor in helping to rehabilitate offenders.

“I have stressed on a number of occasions that my decision regarding the future of Magilligan needs to be based primarily on what is best for the people of Northern Ireland, in terms of enhancing public safety through reducing offending.

“I have been encouraged by the positive commitment to partnership working which has been shown by local councils and business representatives in the North West.

“The focus for debate on the future of Magilligan now needs to shift away from whether it should be decommissioned or not, towards how we can make it work better in terms of rehabilitating prisoners.”

Last month, a delegation including Limavady councillors and members of the local Chamber of Trade met with Minister Ford to put forward the case why a jail should remain at Magilligan.