JUSTICE Minister Naomi Long has said she is fully supportive of the £108million redevelopment of Magilligan Prison.
The Minister was speaking following her first visit to the medium-security facility near Limavady, which holds more than 450 male prisoners.
Several years ago when the need for Magilligan to be redeveloped was being looked at a possible plan to close down the north west site and open a new prison in the Ballymena/Antrim area was looked at.
Those plans did not come to pass.
Naomi Long said: “Magilligan Prison is an important part of the community in the North West, and it’s retention on that site, and plans for redevelopment, are very much part of Northern Ireland Prison Service future projects.
“Significant investment will be required to modernise the facility, and delivery of the redevelopment is dependent on the provision of capital funding, which will be considered as part of wider Executive’s budget discussions.
“However, it is our aim at Magilligan Prison to have safe, secure and decent custody to support staff, visitors and the people who live here.”
Commending the work of the Governors and staff, Naomi Long added: “I want to see Magilligan build on the progress it has made over recent years.
“I have had the opportunity to speak with the Governor and his team about the initiatives they have developed to support and challenge the people in their care as they work towards resettlement back into the community.
“But further progress is needed, in particular in supporting vulnerable people. As ever, we will continue to work to ensure that all those in our care have the support they need.”
Magilligan Prison is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve and who meet the relevant security classification.
At 3 March 2020 there were 464 prisoners at Magilligan Prison.