DCSIMG

Inmate’s mum thanks jailers for saving her son

Magilligan Prison

Magilligan Prison

 

The mother of a prison inmate who almost died after taking drugs has written a heartfelt letter thanking his jailers for saving his life.

The 26-year-old was one of four inmates who reacted badly to a batch of an illegal substance smuggled into Magilligan jail just weeks before Christmas.

Prison governor Steve Davis said his staff reacted quickly and were able to resuscitate the worst affected of those who became ill, before calling an ambulance.

“That individual was very close to death and was kept alive until nurses and paramedics came on the scene,” he said.

In a handwritten letter to the governor, the grateful mother said the caring attitude of the staff at the Co Londonderry prison was now helping her son conquer a 10-year addiction.

“I used to dread every day the phone ringing to tell me he was dead,” she said.

“He had been on drugs since he was 13-years-old and I never thought I would see the day that he would decide to try and beat his addiction. Our thanks has to go to [named prison officer] who took time to listen to him and gave him a chance.”

She added: “Thanks for giving him the chance to prove that he can beat this addiction. Thank you from all the family. You have lifted a lot of worry from his father and myself.”

The dramatic incident took place in the run-up to Christmas but details have only just been released.

Echoing his mother’s sentiments, the remorseful prisoner wrote his own letter of appreciation.

“I apologise sincerely for putting you through what I did. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my life.”

He added: “Thanks for saving me and I’m sorry again for everything that happened. I will try to be a better person and hopefully I will.”

Governor Davis said he was proud of his officers’ reactions having discovered the developing situation inside a prison cell.

“In this situation we had managers, senior officers, who led their staff - they didn’t manage the staff, they led their staff. They set an example. They worked on the premise of keeping everybody safe.

“This was a response in terms of caring for people and managing individuals who were taking unbelievable risks with their health and safety.”

The Prison Service operates a zero tolerance policy towards drug taking and the PSNI prosecutes those caught smuggling drugs into jails.

“It’s not that there’s any turning of a blind eye, or there is an acceptance. Searching, putting barriers up will deter people who aren’t used to smuggling - or aren’t determined to smuggle - but they won’t deter the individuals who really want to smuggle stuff in.

“What I have to work on, and what my staff have to work on, is education to reduce demand. The problem is this is a societal thing. This is something that’s everywhere.

“After an incident like this we would want to do more, but equally we have to balance the more with the simple fact that not everybody in Magilligan smuggles drugs - not every visit is an opportunity for prisoners to smuggle,” Mr Davis added.

“In this situation we had managers, senior officers, who led their staff – they didn’t manage the staff, they led their staff. They set an example. They worked on the premise of keeping everybody safe.

“This was a response in terms of caring for people and managing individuals who were taking unbelievable risks with their health and safety.”

The prison service operates a zero tolerance policy towards drug taking and the PSNI prosecutes those caught smuggling drugs into jails.

“It’s not that there’s any turning of a blind eye, or there is an acceptance. Searching, putting barriers up, will deter people who aren’t used to smuggling – or aren’t determined to smuggle – but they won’t deter the individuals who really want to smuggle stuff in.

“What I have to work on, and what my staff have to work on, is education to reduce demand. The problem is this is a societal thing. This is something that’s everywhere.

“After an incident like this we would want to do more, but equally we have to balance the more with the simple fact that not everybody in Magilligan smuggles drugs – not every visit is an opportunity for prisoners to smuggle,” Mr Davis added.

l See tomorrow’s News Letter for more of the interview with Governor Davis on how the prison service is tackling the drugs problem.

See tomorrow’s News Letter for more of the interview with governor Davis on how the Prison Service is tackling the drugs problem.

 
 
 

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