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Prisoners (Special Category Status)

Volume 983: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the response of the prisoners protesting against the refusal of special category status to the further humanitarian measures which he announced on 26 March.

The prisoners taking part in the "dirty" protest at Maze prison have refused to accept the addi- tional visits or letters, or to take exercise in PT gear. The few prisoners who are protesting only by refusing to wear prison uniform or to work are taking the additional visits and letters, but so far have not taken exercise.I believe that some of the parents of the prisoners concerned have been misled by some of the reports which have appeared in the press about the new arrangements. My hon. Friend the Minister of State is accordingly writing to the next-of-kin of all the prisoners explaining the additional humanitarian measures.