Video: Night staff levels criticised as inadequate in light of Sean Lynch case

Night time staffing levels at Maghaberry have been described as ‘inadequate’ and ‘inappropriate’ in light of the recent Ombudsman’s report into the case of Derry man Sean Lynch who severely self-harmed in the jail two years ago.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden, speaking at Stormont on Tuesday, said she accepted there were challenges across the Prison Service and that she hoped to discuss these with the new director-general, once they are in place.

Sean Lynch pictured with his father Damien, at their Waterside home. Picture Derry Journal

Sean Lynch pictured with his father Damien, at their Waterside home. Picture Derry Journal

UUP MLA Doug Beattie asked the Minister: “Given the challenging nature of supervision and delivery of rehabilitation, does the Minister believe that a staff level of 31 officers at Her Majesty’s Prison Maghaberry for 870 inmates for overnight supervision, including the periodic monitoring of up to 25 prisoners at risk, is not only inadequate but is not appropriate given the recent Prisoner Ombudsman’s report on Sean Lynch?”

Ms Sugden replied: “I do recognise that there are challenges within our Prison Service, some of which you have alluded to.

“I am keen to look at those challenges and see, first and foremost, how we can better support our prison officers.

“Working within a prison is a challenging environment - it really is like no other.

“I am certainly keen to look at how we can better support prison officers, and that might include some of his suggestions.

“When we get the new director-general in post we will look forward to having those discussions.”