Investigations & Analysis - Northern Ireland
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Prisons

Joseph Rainey was 20-years-old when he was sent to Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre
Joseph Rainey was 20-years-old when he was sent to Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre
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Family challenge prison service over son's death

22 OCTOBER 2014

PRISON authorities were warned by police about the fragile mental state of a young inmate only hours before a suicide bid that later claimed his life.

Police records seen by The Detail state that 20-year-old Joseph Rainey was “suicidal” and “had depression” before being handed over to Hydebank Wood Young Offender’s Centre, but within hours he was rushed to hospital with life threatening injuries

His family are now demanding to know whether prison authorities could have done more to prevent his death.

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Maghaberry front page

Minister facing questions over top prison appointment

14 MARCH 2014

JUSTICE Minister David Ford is facing questions over the appointment of a previously suspended prison governor to a key role in Maghaberry, Northern Ireland’s high security jail.

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Shackles of the past front page

Catholics more likely to be jailed and to be disciplined behind bars

03 MARCH 2014

More than fifteen years after the Good Friday Agreement, Catholics form the majority of the prison population and are more likely to be punished when behind bars.

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Phil Scraton, Sue McAllister front page
Phil Scraton, Sue McAllister front page

Prison reform and the shackles of the past

03 MARCH 2014

THE head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service has said it is moving away from a “one size fits all security regime” and is more reflective of post conflict society in Northern Ireland.

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test
test

Prison strip searching is being reduced – but is modernisation coming quickly enough?

03 MARCH 2014

NORTHERN Ireland’s prison system is seeking to cut down on controversial practices such as strip searching, but critics claim reform is too slow.

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PAU front page
PAU front page

“Prisons are about more than bricks and mortar”

03 MARCH 2014

A controversial unit for assessing prisoners coming to the end of their sentence is due to re-open in North Belfast in April this year, The Detail can reveal.

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The number of looked after children being locked up remains high

Locking up vulnerable children: a last resort?

30 OCTOBER 2013

SOME of Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable children have been detained in custody on almost 500 occasions during the last two years, despite a recommendation from the Department of Justice that this should “always be a last resort”.

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The Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast

Judicial review go-ahead over prison death anonymity orders

23 OCTOBER 2013

THE mother of a man who died in Maghaberry prison more than 17 years ago has won the right to challenge the decision of the coroner to grant anonymity to the prison officers who gave evidence at her sons inquest earlier this year.

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Maghaberry Prison

Dirty protests still taking place at Maghaberry

01 OCTOBER 2013

SO-CALLED dirty protests have been taking place at Maghaberry Prison as recently as August this year, The Detail can reveal, but republicans are apparently not involved.

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Hydebank Wood

Nine years on, Hydebank Wood is deemed a failure for women

01 OCTOBER 2013

THERE are “significant concerns” about the level of care provided to Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable prisoner populations – with calls for women to be moved yet again to a suitable secure facility.

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SPAR front page

Vulnerable prisoner support scheme a "box-ticking exercise"

27 AUGUST 2013

Over 350 prisoners have self-harmed during the last three and a half years while subject to procedures designed to help and support vulnerable inmates here.

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Hydebank Wood is located in the outskirts of South Belfast

Ombudsman finds prison assault claim was "false"

01 JULY 2013

NORTHERN Ireland’s prisoner ombudsman has found that an incident concerning the alleged serious assault of two prison officers by an inmate was “falsely recorded”.

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warder front page

Prison officers to be retrained in vulnerable inmate procedures

03 JUNE 2013

SENIOR officers at Maghaberry Prison are being retrained in procedures to manage vulnerable prisoners here.

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James McDonnell died in Maghaberry Prison in March 1996

Coroner refers prison death to Public Prosecution Service

28 MAY 2013

NORTHERN Ireland's most Senior Coroner John Leckey has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate if a criminal offence was committed after an inmate died in Maghaberry Prison 17 years ago.

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James McDonnell died in Maghaberry Prison in March 1996
James McDonnell died in Maghaberry Prison in March 1996

Prison death family: "The truth has finally come out"

17 MAY 2013

THE family of a man who died of a heart attack after being restrained by prison wardens over 17 years ago has spoken for the first time about their long struggle for justice.

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Maghaberry Prison
Maghaberry Prison

Mother claims brain damaged son failed by prison service

01 MAY 2013

Near death in custody report

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Figures show that 57 prisoners have been transferred out for mental health treatment since March 2010
Figures show that 57 prisoners have been transferred out for mental health treatment since March 2010

What's being done for prisoners with mental health issues in NI?

05 APRIL 2013

NEW figures show that more people than ever before are being transferred out of prison for mental health treatment but crucial information about the nature of those illnesses - and the ramifications for the wider prison population - is not collated.

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Over £22m has been spent on prison healthcare over the last three years

Making sense of the prison healthcare spend

05 APRIL 2013

THERE has been over £22m spent on prison healthcare here over the last three years. However, it has taken the South Eastern Trust over two months and two separate FOI requests, to release a full breakdown of the costings.

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Hydebank Wood Prison houses some of NI's most vulnerable prisoners

Surge in self-harming at Hydebank Wood

17 DECEMBER 2012

MORE than 40 medical emergency alerts, including five further suicide attempts and numerous instances of self-harm, have been recorded at Hydebank Wood prison since the suicide of two inmates in May of last year.

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Front Page Frances McKeown
Front Page Frances McKeown

Another failure by a system "not fit for purpose"

28 NOVEMBER 2012

THE husband of a woman who took her own life in Hydebank Wood has raised serious questions about whether the Northern Ireland prison system has the ability to deal with inmates with complex mental health issues.

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Hydebank Wood Prison
Hydebank Wood Prison

Victimised after witnessing prison officer kissing female inmate

28 NOVEMBER 2012

THE latest Prisoner Ombudsman report into the death of Frances McKeown explores allegations that she was bullied in the months leading up to her death after seeing a male prison officer kissing a female inmate – and was then blamed for reporting it.

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16 claims have been brought against the prison service by female inmates

Claims against prison service include one alleged "sexual" incident

28 NOVEMBER 2012

SIXTEEN claims have been brought against the Northern Ireland Prison Service by female inmates since 2004, including one alleging an incident of “a sexual nature”, according to figures obtained by The Detail earlier this year.

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Sylvia front page
Sylvia front page

“I don’t want this to happen to another mother's child”

20 NOVEMBER 2012

EIGHTEEN months after her son died in Hydebank as a result of bullying which went unchallenged by prison management, Sylvia Carson is still waiting for some form of apology.

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Samuel Carson with his nine month old daughter Summer
Samuel Carson with his nine month old daughter Summer

A catalogue of neglect – but no-one is held to account for the death of Samuel Carson

20 NOVEMBER 2012

THE Prison Service failings which preceded the suicide of Samuel Carson in Hydebank Wood were among the worst the Prisoner Ombudsman says she has ever seen - but no-one has been disciplined.

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Maghaberry is Northern Ireland's largest prison

Gaps in care of vulnerable Maghaberry prisoners

17 NOVEMBER 2012

GAPS still exist in the care of vulnerable prisoners at Maghaberry Prison according to a new report from the Criminal Justice Inspectorate.

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Prisoner Assessment Unit
Prisoner Assessment Unit

"Lifers" not prepared for release as numbers rise

29 AUGUST 2012

THE number of life sentence prisoners being released in Northern Ireland could reach a record high,as there are fears that the system to re-integrate them back into society is in disarray.

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Solitary confinement front page photo
Solitary confinement front page photo

29 JULY 2012

Figures obtained by The Detail reveal a huge surge in the use of solitary confinement against young prisoners at Hydebank since 2008 while in contrast its use as a punishment has been dramatically scaled back at Northern Ireland’s main adult prison at Mag

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A warder checks on an inmate at Hydebank prison
A warder checks on an inmate at Hydebank prison

The teenager for whom solitary is the norm

29 JULY 2012

A was just 14 years of age when he was charged with attempted robbery and threats to kill in June 2009. However A’s father has now spoken for the first time to complain that his son is being turned into a “caged animal” inside Hydebank prison having been

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Northern Ireland Prison Service director Sue McAllister
Northern Ireland Prison Service director Sue McAllister

Use of solitary "not cavalier": new prisons director

29 JULY 2012

Northern Ireland Prison Service director Sue McAllister has pledged to investigate new figures which show an alrming rise in the use of solitary confinment punishment against inmates at Hydebank Prison.

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Hydebank Wood is located in the outskirts of South Belfast

Hydebank enquiry to focus on handling of alleged inappropriate behaviour

15 MAY 2012 – NIALL MCCRACKEN

Prison governor suspended because alleged incidents not properly investigated

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Frances McKeown and Samuel Carson
Frances McKeown and Samuel Carson

Suicides in prison: Ombudsman and families speak out

19 JUNE 2011 – BARRY MCCAFFREY

Hydebank Suicides

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