Government must support prison officers

ALLIANCE Assembly member Eileen Bell has said that the Government must give its full support to prison officers following yesterday’s riot in HMP Maghaberry, and look again at the rehousing of asylum seekers.

Mrs Bell said: “Alliance has always believed that the safety of both prison staff and prisoners must be paramount in prisons. For this reason, it is crucial that Prison Service officers, not the prisoners, are in control of the jail.

“Ordinary people will be appalled at the wanton destruction. Once again, the taxpayer will have to foot the bill. Some will be asking why they are waiting months for an operation hundreds of thousands of pounds are spent refurbishing rioting prisoners’ wrecked cells.

“It is important that the NIO gives its full support and resources to prison officers in these difficult times.

“Finally, I would express my deep concern at the ongoing policy of housing asylum seekers in Maghaberry. This riot only proves that more suitable accommodation must be found quickly, as recommended by the Steele Report.”

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