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Sinn Féin call for establishment of Commissioners Forum to address grave failings in the prison service

17 December, 2008 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on Human Rights Martina Anderson has today called for the establishment of Commissioners Forum to deliver clear and binding proposals to address the serious failings in the delivery of prison facilities in the North of Ireland. Speaking following the publishing of today's report by the Independent Monitoring Board on prisons Ms Anderson said:

"This is the third report in three years which has highlighted exceptional and negative procedures within the prison sector. Previous reports have included practices of extreme and unnecessary handcuffing, routine strip searches and now the latest report highlights 23 hour lock up for excessive periods.

"There is clearly a culture of bad practice that needs addressed here. With the recommendations of the last report clearly not being implemented, Paul Goggins as the British Minister with responsibility for prisons is clearly failing in his duty and deal with these serious issues.

"On the back of this report what we need to see is a Commissioners Forum set up which will include Pauline McCabe, the Prison Ombudsman, Monica McWilliams, the Human Rights Commissioner and Michael Maguire the Criminal Justice Inspector to examine the grave failings in the prison service and deliver strong and binding proposals in order to tackle the appalling conditions that those inside prisons have to endure."

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