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Prisons: Northern Ireland

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

The Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Paul Goggins) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I am publishing today a report entitled, Options Appraisal Relating to the Long-term Accommodation Needs in the Adult Male Estate for the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Following a review of the Northern Ireland Prison Service efficiency programme in June 2005, the Government asked the Northern Ireland Prison Service to prepare a strategic development plan aimed at drawing up a blueprint for the long-term development of the Prison Service. The estate strategy is a fundamental part of that process and in February of this year I commissioned the options appraisal.

I am proposing to retain the two current sites, Maghaberry and Magilligan, with an option for a third site should the prison population continue to rise.

I have decided that we will proceed with an 800-bed replacement prison for Magilligan delivered on a phased basis. The Northern Ireland Prison Service will recruit a programme manager and design team to take forward this work.

As the further detailed business case is worked up, the timing and phasing of the redevelopment at Magilligan will be informed by the availability of funding through the next spending round.

Over the next three years we will provide additional prison places in order to reduce doubling and meet shorter-term population pressures. Specifically, we will redevelop Mourne House at Maghaberry Prison as a 300-bed unit (240 new places), work on which has already commenced. There will be up to an additional 170 places at Magilligan, including the recently opened Alpha Unit.

I have placed copies of the options appraisal in the Library of the House.