Northern Ireland news

68 prisoners in Northern Ireland granted home release for Christmas

Maghaberry high-security jail holds life prisoners convicted of the most serious offences including murder and paramilitaries
Rebecca Black, Press Association

Almost 70 prisoners from across Northern Ireland's three jails will be enjoying Christmas at home.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service has granted 68 prisoners Christmas home leave.

The number includes some who are serving life sentences and approaching the end of their tariff.

The prisoners are being released for varying periods between December 24 and January 2, and conditions have been placed on their leave.

In total, the prison service received 128 applications for leave across the three prison establishments.

Of these 60 were refused.

Among the prisoners who were granted home leave include 21 from Magilligan Prison in the North West, 38 from Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim and nine from Hydebank Wood College on the outskirts of south Belfast.

The prison service said all the prisoners who have been granted home leave were the subject of a satisfactory risk assessment and have either successfully completed a home leave programme or undergone periods of unaccompanied testing in the community.

On December 21, there were 1,364 men, women and young offenders being held in prisons in Northern Ireland.

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