Moderator praise for new prison approach

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The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), Rt Rev Dr William Henry, recently met with senior prison personnel and praised the Prison Services’ focus on rehabilitation and vulnerable prisoners, when he visited Davis House, the new £54 million prison block at HMP Maghaberry.

Accompanied by colleagues from PCI’s Council for Mission in Ireland, which has responsibility for PCI’s prison chaplaincy, the Moderator was invited to tour Northern Ireland’s only high security prison by its co-ordinating chaplain, Presbyterian minister Rev Graham Stockdale.

During the tour, prison governor David Kennedy and Ronnie Armour, Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, briefed Dr Henry on the new facility and progress that was being made at the prison. “During our time at Maghaberry we were given a terrific insight into a thoroughly modern prison and the welcome focus that is being placed on the rehabilitation of offenders in their care,” Dr Henry said. “In so many different aspects, the new building has been specifically designed to put rehabilitation at the centre of the work of the prison, along with support for those who are vulnerable. When talking about the prisoners, I was impressed by the repeated use of the phrase ‘men in our care’, which is a demonstration of this different approach.

“It is good to see what has been done in recent years and hear that inspectors report that the prison is delivering some of the best outcomes that they have seen. I was also pleased to see, and hear, the value that the Prison Service places on chaplaincy and the role of the chaplains from across the denominations.”