‘More must be done to help vulnerable prisoners’

Trevor Lunn MLA.
Trevor Lunn MLA.

More needs to be done to ensure that vulnerable prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm are given the appropriate care, a Lagan Valley MLA has said.

Trevor Lunn, the Alliance Party’s Justice spokesperson, was commenting after inspectors once again raised concerns about the care of highly vulnerable inmates at Maghaberry Prison.

The Criminal Justice Inspection said care plans for some prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm remained unacceptable, with previous lessons not being learnt.

“Progress has been made in many areas since previous reports, with the leadership team and staff clearly having taken onboard prior recommendations,” said Mr Lunn.

“However, this is not the case across the entirety of the prison, with highly vulnerable prisoners still not receiving the appropriate care. That is a worrying issue and it is clear more work needs done to ensure these prisoners in particular are treated with due care.

“It is important to show a humanitarian attitude to those in prison, particularly vulnerable individuals.

“In order to protect wider society, we must ensure prisoners are rehabilitated and the risk of reoffending reduced. To do that, we need to support the reform process and help change the underlying culture within prisons.”