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Sinn Féin motion calls for full implementation of Prison Ombudsman’s recommendations on Maghaberry

22 February, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin, Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin MLA's Raymond McCartney and Martina Anderson will present a motion at tomorrows sitting of the Assembly calling for the full implementations of the recommendations of the report made by the Prison Ombudsman into the death of Colin Bell in Maghaberry Prison.

Speaking ahead of the motion Mr McCartney said:

"This report from the Prison Ombudsman came about following the tragic death of Colin Bell in Maghaberry Prison. The findings highlighted misconduct and failure to do the duty that prison staff and their bosses are charged with.

"If the quote by Fyodor Dostoevsky , "A society should be judged not by how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals.", is to read true then the series of events that failed Colin Bell, and continue to fail other prisoners, is a glaring example of how we need to push foreword on this issue and deliver basic human rights within our prisons.

"Sinn Féin have been raising the issue of self harm and suicide for may years yet the Prison service and the NIO have been extremely slow to act.

"The purpose of the motion that we have brought forward is to place the relevant pressure on the NIO and the Prison service to ensure that the far reaching recommendations are acted upon.

"We are very sensitive the hurt caused to the Bell family and would like to ensure that no other family will have to endure the suffering and the searching for answers that the Bell family have had to go through.

"This report has a ream of serious findings and includes 44 recommendations. Those who hold the authority and responsibility for our prisons need to enact fully these recommendations without further delay."


The motion reads:

That this Assembly calls on the Prison Service to implement in full the recommendations made by the Prisoner Ombudsman in the report into the death of Colin Bell in Maghaberry Prison on 1 August 2008.

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