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Thread: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

  1. #1
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    Default Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    ''A feeble excuse.'' That's how SDLP MLA John Dallat described Justice Minister David Fords answer to a question in relation to a report into alternatives to strip searching in Maghaberry gaol.

    [Quote David Ford]...He said the report contained sensitive security and commercial information.[unquote]

    A dirty protest has been ongoing for several months now at Maghaberry were Republicans in Roe House refusing to wash or shave and emptying ***** etc under cell doors. This action is in response to what they claim as a reneg on a deal struck between prison officials and prisoners in August 2010

    Known as the ''August Agreement'' it involved input and discussion, not only from the Republican prisoners themselves but Sinn Fein officials and trade union reps.

    When it gets to the stage were ordinary backbenchers like John Dallat can't even get a straight answer and the Justice Minister refuses to release the report i think it's telling of a ''sit on the fence and hope it does'nt spill over'' attitude by Ford.

    Shrouding an official report in secrecy does'nt help the matter and can only lead to an escalation of protest action with the potential for hunger strike and the knock on affect of that is violence on the streets.

    At what point i ask will the Justice Minister deliver straight answers to questions....before or after someone dies as a result?

    Read more here...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17108379
    Last edited by Trow; 04-11-2012 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Correct agreement date/year.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    SF and even the SDLP have been more vocal on this in recent times, hopefully it can be resolved and the August agreement implemented before it escalates further.
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    SF and even the SDLP have been more vocal on this in recent times, hopefully it can be resolved and the August agreement implemented before it escalates further.
    There's a school of thought about the rendundantcy packages on offer to the ''Old school ex Long Kesh era screws'' currently enforcing the strip search regime at Maghaberry.

    That school of thought is concerned that there will be a repeat of the golden handshake redundantcy pay off on Friday and welcome back to the job the following Monday as with the case concerning 100's of ex RUC members.

    Ford, it is believed, is hiding this fact and all along these militant minded ex Maze old school screws have been operating a ''Work to rule'' using the security blanket and harsh treatment of Republican prisoners to further their own agendas.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    During a televised interview today outside Maghaberry Gaol, Raymong Mc Cartney, Sinn Fein and former hunger striker said when asked ''Yes, they are political prisoners.''

    He was speaking as a delegation met with prisoners and prison officials in the latest expose into the ongoing situation in Roe house were Republican prisoners are continuing a dirty protest over forced strip searching.

    6 Counties Justice Minister, David Ford has called for the protest to end, [Quote]The prisoners say they want scanning devices to replace body searches.

    Mr Ford said the Prison Service was seeking alternatives.[unquote]

    There's alot of word smithing going on around what was actually agreed last August and fine details and additional clauses are being mixed about in a game of verbal gymnastics and securocrat pettiness and vindictiveness on the part of screws and co.

    Latest 6 Counties media on the matter here...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17295555
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    It's taken a question during a Stormont session to reveal that ''trials are to begin'' of scanners designed to replace full body searches.

    As yet there's no mention of were or when.

    Quote....Speaking in the assembly, Mr Ford rejected a comment from the DUP's Sydney Anderson that dissident republican prisoners were dictating policy on prison searches.

    And..Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch said he welcomed the use of "advanced technology in place of the unnecessary and demeaning use of strip-searching".unquote.

    Read more...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17913166
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    All quiet in Maghaberry today. RIP David Black.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    How do Trow and good to see you back as always. Couldn't help thinking of a couple of posts you've made on this subject on which you know a bit I suggest.

    Otherwise how is life treating you?
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Can anyone tell me what the "Ninja Squad" is in the prison. I've heard it mentioned a few times
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    Can anyone tell me what the "Ninja Squad" is in the prison. I've heard it mentioned a few times
    The ''Ninja's'' are a rapid response unit/riot squad.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Just to clarify, the ''Boss chairs'' [scanning chairs] have been acquired by the ''Northern Ireland Prison Service'' and are being tested in ''Magilligan Prison''

    This has been in operation over the past few months.

    Why the trial period and why elsewhere? Surely they should know if the chairs work or not before they buy them.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Quote Originally Posted by Trow View Post
    Just to clarify, the ''Boss chairs'' [scanning chairs] have been acquired by the ''Northern Ireland Prison Service'' and are being tested in ''Magilligan Prison''

    This has been in operation over the past few months.

    Why the trial period and why elsewhere? Surely they should know if the chairs work or not before they buy them.
    Do you think recent events have scuppered any chances of movement by the prison authorities? I can't see them changing things now.
    The United Irishman. Updated 5/2/14

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Quote Originally Posted by Saoirse go Deo View Post
    Do you think recent events have scuppered any chances of movement by the prison authorities? I can't see them changing things now.
    I think it was the heal dragging by the prison regime over the scanning chairs that scuppered things most recently.

    That regime simply does'nt want to move things forward as it would seem a victory to those Republicans on protest.
    There's a lingering bitterness and no surrender attitude amongst the screws who will say that the pace of reforms concerning internal security matters won't be dictated by prisoners.

    The issue twists and turns in differing logic and view points and while internal prison security plays it's game it can be argued that their petty stall tactics caused the death of a colleague.

    The anti is well upped now and the issue over the boss chairs won't/can't see a sudden resolve on the heal of an execution of a prison staff member, that to the POA [prison officers association] would be seen as a surrender.

    Where does it go from here? I dare not speculate but can sense a prolonged entrenched battle of wills.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Here is a statement from Republican prisoners in relation to the 12th August agreement dated...May 2011. Prudent to keep a timeline for your own analysis of the situation. The text of the August agreement is in the next post below.
    Note the first signatory of this statement.

    Over one year has passed since republican prisoners commenced a protest to end strip searching and controlled movement in Maghaberry. The protest ended on the 12th August 2010 after a facilitated agreement was reached between prisoners and gaol admin/NIO which was supposed to have ended strip searching and“phased out” controlled movement within the landings of republican prisoners.As with previous agreements between republican prisoners and the British, the British immediately began to claw back on their position and in the case of this agreement even introduced new and more degrading measures. As a group of non-conforming republican prisoners, we fought against these measures and have worked tirelessly to have the 12th August agreement implemented. To achieve change we have to resist. To challenge such a regime comes at a cost.Since the signing of the August agreement over 60 forced strip searches has taken place and the phased ending of controlled movement hasn’t materialised. By this stage, May 2011, we should have unfettered access to our two landings with cell doors remaining open all day. Instead, ten screws have to be in place before movement begins, with a maximum of six out on landings a tany one time. A “forum” involving prisoner representatives and gaol admin was put in place as part of the agreement to sort areas of contention, meeting on a monthly basis, but as non-conforming prisoners, we refuse to take part in this “talking shop” whilst forced strip searching and controlled movement remain in place. Other areas that need to be addressed are too numerous to go into detailbut one example is that when a republican is arrested, he can expect to spend up to 28 days in an interrogation centre, then if charged, he’s brought to Maghaberry where he can expect to beheld on landings with loyalists and drug dealers for weeks (in some cases months) before being transferred to the republican landings.This is only one of many disgraceful issues that have been allowed to continue unchallenged for too long. We will not stand idly by as comrades suffer.

    In recent months, we have released two separate documents relating to the agreement of August 2010 and conditions within Maghaberry. In both documents we called publicly for unity between all prisoners, stating that we believed unity was our strength and would benefit us all if we moved forward collectively.We asked the other groups of prisoners and anyone outside with influence and aligned to them to help to achieve this unity.Unfortunately several months have passed and we have received no response from either. We are conscious of the fact that a significant number of POWs who agreed with our analysis and actions required to obtain our objectives were fully supportive of us but withheld that support. We now believe that most of those now have the confidence to vocally show that support and indeed join us in our struggle. We openly and genuinely welcome those comrades and any others who share our view regarding gaol struggle.

    Our objective is to establish a republican wing with republican principles at its core. As republicans we will do whatever it takes to achieve this. This will necessitate the ending of strip searching and controlled movement per the agreement of August 2010. We cannot and will not allow or facilitate any attempt to criminalise republican prisoners any longer. We ask families, comrades and republicans at home and abroad for renewed support as we enter protest action to secure our rights as republicans. Strip searching remains! Controlled movement remains! Our determination to end them also remains! Protest action has commenced at 10pm, Friday 6th May 2011.

    Signed: Colin Duffy, Damien McLaughlin, Kevin Barry Nolan, Harry Fitzsimons, Gerard McManus, Brendy Conway, Seán McConville, Brian Cavlan, Gavin Coyle, Dominic Dynes, Brendan McConville, Mark McGuigan, John Paul Wootton, Brian Sheridan, Joe Barr .
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    August agreement
    Text of Agreement ending Roe House protest



    ( Later reneged on by the Loyalist POA and the NIO )
    The following has been published on the NI prison service website

    Maghaberry, 12 August 2010

    A. Agreement Reached on Dispute at Roe House in Maghaberry Prison
    Following a protest by Republican prisoners in Roe House, the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) and the prisoners agreed to engage in a facilitation process. A Joint Facilitation Group (Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Creggan Enterprises and Dialogue Advisory Group) met both parties on a number of occasions over the past several weeks. The discussions were underpinned at all times by the following principles:

    B. Fundamental Principles
    1. Arrangements are predicated on mutual respect;
    2. Prisoner and staff safety must not be put at risk;
    3. Arrangements should comply with human rights and equality requirements;
    4. Revised arrangements and procedures should be achievable and sustainable;
    5. Staff should be able to carry out their work professionally, free from harm, intimidation or threat;
    6. The security of the establishment should not be diluted; and
    7. The arrangements must strengthen public confidence in NIPS.

    C. Prisoner Forum
    An effective Prisoners’ Forum will be established, in addition to existing processes for complaints and requests. This should provide a meaningful mechanism to address issues of mutual concern and is designed to build trust.

    D. Full body searching
    1. No random full body searching will take place on the way to domestic and legal visits and the videolink or from the SSU.

    2. No “rubdown” searching internally, within Roe 3 and 4.

    3. NIPS will introduce a new search facility and revised search policy for separated prisoners. The new facility will be located within the Bush and Roe complex and subject to CCTV and audio coverage. It will incorporate a combination of the latest technologies which will remove the requirement for routine full-body searching of separated prisoners within the prison. The search process for all separated prisoners entering the separated complex will be:
    • outer clothing, metal objects, belts and shoes removed and passed through scanner;
    • all prisoners undergo scanning by hand held metal detector;
    • all prisoners undergo thorough rub-down search; and
    • prisoners required to sit on BOSS chair (where outer clothing contains metal, prisoners may be required to remove this).
    4. NIPS reserves the right, in exceptional cases, to require any prisoner to undergo a full-body search – under existing arrangements – if:
    • there is a positive indication by the technology and the cause cannot be identified; or
    • there is reason through intelligence or suspicion that a prisoner may be concealing prohibited items on their person.

    5. In such cases the full-body search must be authorised and observed by a supervisor and carried out in a manner which is both sensitive and dignified. The process of searching will be audited and monitored to ensure it complies with human rights standards.

    E. Movement / association
    1. The Prisoner Ombudsman’s report of June 11 2010 recommended that a review of the separated regime should be included in the current independent Prison Review and that the review team should examine the evidence considered by the CJINI/HMCIP when it concluded in 2006 and 2009 that the arrangements for the movement of separated prisoners “were unnecessarily restrictive”. (The HMCIP finding states that “there was severely restricted prisoner movement… this was particularly noticeable on the separated units where, even within the unit itself, the system of controlled movement meant that only three prisoners were allowed out an any one time, with no less than five staff present”). NIPS has fully accepted the Prisoner Ombudsman’s recommendation.

    2. Subject to the fundamental principles set out at section B above, NIPS’s aim is to move from the existing arrangements towards a more progressive, supervised free-flow movement system within Roe House, on a phased basis, as follows:

    Phase 1 - commencing August 2010
    NIPS will take steps to implement as quickly as possible from the date of this agreement:
    • Association within the recreation room, yard and - when it is completed - the astro-turf pitch from 0830 until fifteen minutes before lock-up; and
    • Considering the wing – for the purposes of movement –as one unit, rather than two landings. This will permit a maximum of 6 prisoners on the landing at any one time, while other prisoners will have access to kitchen, laundry room, classrooms, showers, ironing and haircutting room.

    Phase 2 – commencing December 2010
    The independent Prison Review Team is expected to report on the Maghaberry regime by December 2010 and, in the light of paragraph E1 above, it is expected that their report will include recommendations on less restrictive movement arrangements within Roe House. In addition to implementing the recommendations of the Prisoner Ombudsman’s report and this agreement, NIPS will take steps to implement agreed recommendations from the independent Review as quickly as possible.

    Phase 3
    Beyond Phase 2 NIPS will continue to review and assess ways to further progress supervised free flow movement of prisoners. This will include implementing agreed recommendations – if any – contained in the final independent Prison Review Report of early 2011.

    3. NIPS’s ability to progress, implement and maintain phased changes to movement procedures towards a lasting solution will be determined by adherence to the fundamental principles set out in section B above. Throughout this entire phased process independent assessments will be conducted by NIPS, JFG and the Minister’s representatives.

    F. Next Steps
    1. The protest in Roe House will cease immediately;
    2. The prisoners commit to refrain from intimidating, threatening, or harming prison staff in carrying out their duties.
    3. Continuous monitoring and evidencing of this agreement commences.
    4. NIPS will begin infrastructural change linking the exercise yard with the astro-turf pitch.
    5. NIPS will commence work to design and build an enhanced search facility for separated prisoners, in line with the proposals at section D.
    6. An initial prisoners’ forum will be convened to address areas of mutual concern and to resolve grievances through dialogue within this Forum..
    7. The “Separated Compact” will be revised to reflect changes from this agreement and the Prisoner Ombudsman’s report and also, in due course, to reflect changes arising from the recommendations in the independent Prison Review’s report.
    8. Review of “full body searching” will report by end of September 2010 and agreed recommendations implemented as soon as possible.
    9. Independent Prison Review’s report on the Maghaberry regime by December 2010.
    10. Full compliance of all parties with this agreement is imperative to building confidence and achieving a lasting solution – one that delivers a safe, secure and humane prison regime.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Inside Out, The story of Maghaberry

    Well I'll say this much- that is a well constructed document. That document is better prepared and outlined than some of the legislation I've read.

    We should get them to draft amendment proposals to the Constitution. Impressive in tone and construction.
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

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