Magilligan had more staff than prisoners

Magilligan Prison. Picture Margaret McLaughlin � please by-line 20-12-13
Magilligan Prison. Picture Margaret McLaughlin � please by-line 20-12-13

Figures released by Justice Minister, David Ford show that in 2009, there were more staff than inmates in Magilligan prison.

This number of staff has reduced dramatically since then, according to the figures, which were released by Minister Ford, in reponse to written requests from DUP East Londonderry MLA Gregory Campbell.

The number of staff employed at Magilligan Prison has undergone a significant decrease in just five years.

However, the number of prisoners has risen to levels officially approaching ‘overcrowding’.

In 2009, there were more staff employed at the prison than there were prisoners.

On May 1, 2006, there were 435 staff employed at Magilligan Prison. In 2014, that total had reduced to 295.

Whilst the number of staff had fallen by 140 in the period 2009 to 2014, the number of prisoners in Magilligan had increased.

In 2009, there were 401 prisoners in Magilligan. In 2014, there were 566 - an increase of 165.

The Justice Minister answered a further query from Mr Campbell last week.

Our sister paper, The Sentinel recently revealed that the jail population in Magilligan is pushing the limit of the prison service’s own measure of how many inmates it can safely and decently accommodate.

Last year Magilligan was just ten prisoners short of becoming overcrowded.

But the situation is better than that prevailing up the road in Maghaberry.

The Country Antrim based prison has been officially overcrowded for the past three years.

The prison population has grown consistently since 2009 in Northern Ireland, according to figures.

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