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Armagh Prison (Female Prisoners)

Volume 78: debated on Friday 10 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many strip searches were made of female prisoners in Her Majesty's prison, Armagh, in the month of April; if he will give the number of persons involved and the number of times each person was searched; whether any prison contraband, smuggled item or illegal correspondence was discovered in any search, indicating which items; in how many cases prisoners refused to be searched and had to be restrained while the search was being concluded; and if he will indicate the reasons for the search, namely, making an appearance at Armagh courthouse on remand, attending trial, interprison visit or other reasons, itemising the other reasons.

During April 1985 a total of 52 searches were carried out on 21 prisoners in Her Majesty's prison Armagh: 12 prisoners were searched once, eight were searched twice, and a life sentence prisoner taking part in a pre-release programme was searched on 24 occasions. The latter prisoner was offered accommodation in a separate self-contained unit of the prison, which would have eliminated the need for her to undergo the full reception search procedure, but she preferred to remain located with other prisoners.No prohibited articles were found during these searches, and no prisoner refused to be searched. Searches were carried out in the following circumstances:

First admission on remand and awaiting trial5
First admission on sentence, and final discharge9
Attending Armagh Remand Court1
Bail Court appearances3
Outside hospitals3
Pre-release programme21
Home leave scheme10