Northern Ireland

HMP Maghaberry opens additional accommodation as prison population hits 1,240

Across Northern Ireland’s prison estate there are 1,904 prisoners (Michael Cooper/PA)
Across Northern Ireland’s prison estate there are 1,904 prisoners (Michael Cooper/PA) Across Northern Ireland’s prison estate there are 1,904 prisoners (Michael Cooper/PA)

HMP Maghaberry has opened additional accommodation after Northern Ireland’s jails hit the highest prison population in modern times.

There are currently more than 1,240 inmates in the Co Antrim facility.

It has opened the previously mothballed Erne House as a contingency measure.

Earlier this month an inspection report recorded 1,230 men at the prison, more than half of whom were remand prisoners awaiting trial.

Across Northern Ireland’s prison estate there are 1,904 prisoners.

A Department of Justice spokesman described the “highest NI prison population in modern times”.

“The governor of Maghaberry has been planning for this eventuality and has opened additional accommodation, including Erne House, as a contingency measure,” they said.

“NIPS is also continuing to recruit operational staff to ensure staffing levels are maintained to manage the increasing population.”