Northern Ireland news

Innovative prison rehabilitation benefitting community

Pupils Thomas Purdy, Lucia Carrigan and Daniel Magill with Justice Minister Naomi Long, Maghaberry Prison Governor David Savage and principal Claire Breen

POSITIVE and innovative prison rehabilitation projects can have real and meaningful benefits for the local community, Justice Minister Naomi Long has said.

The minister was speaking as she joined Maghaberry Prison Governor David Savage for the delivery of `mud-kitchens' built by prisoners for children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties at Tor Bank School in Dundonald.

The wooden, weather resistant playground workbenches, which encourage sensory development in children, were designed and constructed by inmates under the tutelage of prison officers.

"By participating in this project, the prisoners in Maghaberry have developed personal skills but also made a lasting and positive impression in the local community. It is an absolute delight to see how this simple idea brings so much joy to the children of Tor Bank School," Mrs Long said.

Mr Savage said rehabilitation supporting men in the prison's care to address their offending behaviour and preparing them for their release.

"This latest project for Tor Bank School was enthusiastically received by prisoners who recognised it was also an opportunity to do something good for the community," he said.

Tor Bank caters for children aged 3 to19 with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

"I know this will make a huge difference to the lives of all our children and young people," said principal Claire Breen.

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