SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has called for an end to the forced strip searching of prisoners at Maghaberry and the full implementation of the recommendations of the recent stocktake report.
Mr Ramsey said:
“It is unacceptable from a human rights perspective and from the perspective of easing tensions at Maghaberry for the use of forced strip searches to continue. Anyone who has visited prisoners and prison service staff at these facilities will know that.
“Body scanning technology has advanced significantly and there is now no reasonable excuse for a delay in implementing new search procedures. Such a move would be a signal of a commitment to compromise and change within the prison service.
“The SDLP firmly believe that implementing the recommendations found in the recent stocktake report will lead to an improved relationship between prison service staff and prisoners and will reduce the threat of violence and disruption. It will also create an atmosphere of mutual respect and uphold the highest standards of human rights. That is something we should strive for.
“The report also recommends significant changes to visiting procedures to make them more family friendly as well as further investment in education and training provision. Prison should be a rehabilitative experience. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that happens.
The SDLP will continue to press for the full implementation of the report and the establishment of a human rights approach to the treatment of prisoners.”