Inspectors report jointly on Magillan Prison

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers CBE, and the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland, Kit Chivers, today published their report on an inspection of Magilligan prison. 

The Inspectors found that there was much good to record at Magilligan, but that industrial relations problems since the last inspection in 2002 had put a brake on progress.   
Staff-prisoner relationships had improved and prisoners were held safely, without the need for separation.  Most prisoners had some access to activities.  Resettlement was an area of good practice, carried out by dedicated staff within a new unit.  Excellent visitor services were being provided by NIACRO.
However, a deteriorating industrial relations situation had resulted in a breakdown of trust between managers and staff.  Too many decisions essential to the good running of the prison were in effect outside managers’ control.  As a result prisoners could not be guaranteed regular access to activities such as education and training.  Moreover, there was insufficient good quality work and education. There was an over-emphasis on physical security at the expense of other services.  Finally, there was no equality monitoring of outcomes for prisoners.  
Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice, said:
 “In spite of the limitations imposed by H Block accommodation, there is a lot of good work going on at Magilligan, especially in relation to resettlement.  But it is costly for a prison of its kind, and if it is to realise its full potential management urgently needs to establish a better working relationship with the Prison Officers’ Association so that staff time can be used more productively. I welcome the comprehensive action plan prepared by the Governor and his senior management team which when implemented will bring Magilligan to higher standards of custodial care.”