My prison is not out of control

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I wish to respond to the news article published in the News Letter (‘Razor attack shows how prison is ‘out of control,’ March 15).

This story is inaccurate.

Maghaberry Prison is not out of control and any suggestion of this is simply not correct.

The attack last week on a member of my staff was utterly despicable and has been widely condemned.

The safety of my staff is of paramount importance and, to that end, I have closely examined the circumstances of the incident; this incident was not ‘the symptom’ of a lack of control in the prison, nor could it have been predicted or prevented.

To suggest that this is the case is an insult to my staff who perform their duties courageously, professionally and diligently, and who deal with challenging individuals with complex needs on a daily basis.

It was that courage and professionalism that I personally witnessed last Monday, when staff supported an injured colleague in the most difficult of circumstances; to suggest that, ‘Control, in all aspects of Maghaberry has been slipping away’, and that, ‘this is a manifestation of the violence and aggression that’s developed in the prison’, denigrates the commitment of my staff to provide a safe and secure environment, on a day and daily basis.

I am proud of my staff and the work that everyone at the establishment does and will continue to do in seeking to make Northern Ireland safer through the rehabilitation of those in our care.

Stephen Davis, Governor, Maghaberry Prison