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Prison Ombudsman findings should be acted upon - Martina Anderson MLA

8 January, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Fein Policing Board member Martina Anderson today said that it was vital that all the recommendations being made by the Prison Ombudsman in her report into the suicide of an inmate, Colin Bell, in Maghaberry last August were implemented including disciplinary procedures.

Ms Anderson said:

"There is a history of suicide and self harm in the prison system here. We have been raising these issues for many years yet the Prison Service and their bosses in the NIO have been slow to act.

"Regardless of why someone is in prison it is essential that their rights are protected and their needs met. This has not happened in this case.

"Clearly I want to study the report by the Prison Ombudsman in detail, but initial findings provide quite shocking examples of bad practice and unacceptable behaviour by staff.

"If the problem of suicide and self harm within the prison system is to be addressed then reports like this need to be acted upon. That means implementing all of the recommendations including disciplinary procedures." ENDS

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