29 January 2004 Edition
Concern over Maghaberry prison conditions
Sinn Féín prisons spokesperson Gerry Kelly has said that he is concerned that ordinary prisoners in Maghaberry are being punished simply because they happen to share the same block as the loyalist inmates who damaged the accommodation earlier this month.
"Families of prisoners serving sentences in the Bann House wing in Maghaberry have contacted my office concerned that the men who are not part of any protest have been on a lockdown regime for over a week now," said Kelly. "That means that they are confined to their cells 23 hours each day. These men are housed on a separate landing from the loyalist prisoners.
"The justification being given for the lockdown regime by the prison authorities is that the loyalist inmates who damaged the jail are also housed in the same block.
"This is communal punishment and it should cease. Prisoners do have rights and these rights must be respected."