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Sinn Féin to lead cross party women’s delegation visit to Hydebank prison

30 August, 2007

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

The group will include representatives from the SDLP, PUP, Alliance and Sinn Féin.

The visit will take place on Friday 31st August and follows a recent damming report into the conditions for women in Hydebank Wood Prison.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Ms McCann said:

"The conditions suffered by women prisoners in Hydebank are appalling and atrocious. The recent Human Rights Commission report presented damning evidence about the abuses of human rights and I feel that this cross party meeting with the prisoners is needed.

"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 are practices which need to be challenged.

"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

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