Innovative prison rehabilitation benefitting local community

Positive and innovative prison rehabilitation projects can have real and meaningful benefits for the local community, Justice Minister Naomi Long has said.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 11:57 am
Thumbs up from Tor Bank School pupils Thomas Purdy, Lucia Carrigan and Daniel Magill for their new 'mud-kitchens'. Justice Minister Naomi Long joined Maghaberry Prison Governor David Savage for delivery of the 'mud-kitchens' built by prisoners for children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties at Tor Bank School in Dundonald. Pictured also is School Principal Claire Breen. Picture: Michael Cooper

The Minister was speaking as she joined Maghaberry Prison Governor David Savage for the delivery of ‘mud-kitchens’ built by prisoners for children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties at Tor Bank School in Dundonald.

The wooden, weather resistant playground workbenches, which encourage sensory development in children, were designed and constructed by the prisoners under the tutelage of Prison Officers.

Naomi Long said: “I am always impressed by the innovative rehabilitation ideas of the Northern Ireland Prison Service. In recent years I know many projects completed by prisoners have benefitted numerous charities, schools and community groups. The contribution of staff and prisoners at Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank Wood during the Pandemic has been inspirational.

“By participating in this project, the prisoners in Maghaberry have developed personal skills but also made a lasting and positive impression in the local community. It is an absolute delight to see how this simple idea brings so much joy to the children of Tor Bank School.”

Maghaberry Prison Governor David Savage said: “We’ve always insisted Maghaberry Prison is part of the community and not apart from it. Rehabilitation is at the heart of all that we do, supporting the men in our care to address their offending behaviour and preparing them for their return to the community. This latest project for Tor Bank School was enthusiastically received by prisoners who recognised it was also an opportunity to do something good for the community.”

Tor Bank School Principal Claire Breen said: “I can’t thank Maghaberry Prison enough for reaching out into the community to provide us with unique mud kitchens. Tor Bank caters for children aged 3 to19 with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties and I know this will make a huge difference to the lives of all our children and young people.”