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Prisons: Maghaberry

Volume 702: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On what terms they gave the makers of BBC Northern Ireland's “Life Inside” programme complete freedom to interview anywhere and anyone inside Maghaberry prison; whether that decision was made on the basis of a defined and agreed social, penal or public objective or benefit; and, if so, what objective or benefit was intended; and [HL3915]

What were the additional administrative costs and the costs of guarding and escorting people arising from the making of BBC Northern Ireland's “Life Inside” programme at Maghaberry prison; and whether BBC Northern Ireland has made a contribution to defray expenses. [HL3916]

The intention of the programme-makers was to portray the normalisation of prison life in Northern Ireland after the Troubles, and to give the audience a fresh perspective on the complex and challenging issues faced on a daily basis. The series featured all three prison establishments and the Prison Service did not exercise any editorial control in relation to the programme content.

The production crew of three people scheduled their observational filming and interviews with staff and prisoners around the prison regime. This ensured that there was no adjustment in staff complements. Participation was completely voluntary and all prisoners and members of staff who were interviewed gave prior written consent. Written consent was also given by other individuals appearing on camera, and where this was not possible, their images were pixilated.

The Prison Service incurred no additional administrative costs through the making of the production.