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Sinn Féin MLA announces cross party women's group delegation visit to Hydebank prison, 31 August.

23 August, 2007

Sinn Féin women's spokesperson Jennifer Mc Cann MLA has announced a cross party assembly group visit to Hydebank Wood prison to assess the conditions for women there.

The visit which shall consist of representatives from the SDLP, PUP, Alliance and Sinn Féin will take place on Friday 31 August.

This follows a recent hard- hitting report into the conditions for women in Hydebank Wood Prison,

Speaking today from the assembly, the Sinn Féin MLA said,

"The conditions suffered by women prisoners in Hydebank are appalling and atrocious. Monica Mc William's recent report presented damning evidence of abuses of human rights and therefore I feel a cross party meeting with the prisoners is needed.

"The recent report details the inhumane nature of locking women in isolation for periods of time, the humiliation of strip searches, the lack of contact with families and the association with male prisoners to and from court.

"Women who have been charged for not paying fines are going to jail which is certainly unacceptable and also women with severe mental health problems are not receiving the care they need.

"As a former political prisoner I can empathise with the women regarding these degrading conditions. These conditions were unacceptable in the past and must be challenged in 2007.

"What is now paramount is action and I as an elected representative want to see the conditions at first hand."

Ends/ Deireadh

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