1,000 reasons for families to celebrate at Magilligan Prison

Date published: 07 June 2018

1,000 education and training qualifications have been awarded to prisoners at Magilligan Prison in the past year.

Magilligan Prison Governor Richard Taylor presents certificates for education and training skills to prisoners Jason Lavery and Richard Sinclair. 1,000 education and training qualifications have been awarded to prisoners who have completed courses.

This week, forty prisoners were awarded 100 certificates for success in various courses at Magilligan Prison, delivered by the North West Regional College (NWRC). The prisoners were supported to gain qualifications and training in essential skills, ICT, carpentry and joinery, furniture making, fabrication and welding, painting and decorating, plastering, horticulture, art and design, hospitality, and barbering during their time in custody.

Ronnie Armour, Head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, and Leo Murphy Principal and CEO of NWRC, attended to present the certificates.

Speaking at the ceremony at Magilligan Prison, Ronnie Armour said: “I want to congratulate everyone receiving an award. Over 50% of people who come into prison have no formal qualifications. The partnership we have established with the North West Regional College allows us to support prisoners in a wide range of courses which are aimed at enhancing their learning and skills and ultimately giving them the tools to move away from offending behaviour.

“By challenging people and supporting them to change in new and innovative ways we are helping to create a safer Northern Ireland where people respect the law and each other.”

Leo Murphy, Principal and CEO, North West Regional College, said: “I want to congratulate all the prisoners who have collected awards, diplomas or certificates following completion of courses at Magilligan.  

“Our curriculum provision at the prison has increased significantly in recent years, both in terms of the range and the level of course being offered. This has led to an unprecedented rise in the number of prisoners undertaking and successfully completing accredited courses. In the past year alone, over 1,000 qualifications have been awarded to prisoners, many of whom believed that it was not possible to achieve so much in such a short period of time.”  

Richard Taylor, Governor at Magilligan Prison, said: “I am delighted that, for the first time, prisoners’ family members were here at the ceremony to share in this success.”

He added: “We’re also piloting a scheme where fathers can be directly involved in supporting their child’s education, which is another step on the road to supporting dads to take a better path when they are released.”

Dr Damian O’Kane, Head of Education, North West Regional College at Magilligan said: “We look forward to building upon the current success, working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Prison Service, by introducing new programmes of study which are closely aligned to Northern Ireland’s key skill shortage areas.”

To learn more about the learning and skills courses at Magilligan Prison go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAW_1m0XgOo

Notes to editors: 

1.  Magilligan Prison is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve and who meet the relevant security classification.

2.  At 7 June 2018 Magilligan Prison population was 461.

3.  North West Regional College provides an outsourced service to deliver Learning, Skills and Employability solutions in Magilligan Prison on behalf of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

4.  The department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department's internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department's Privacy Policy is available on our website.

5.  All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

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