200 reasons to celebrate prisoners’ education at Maghaberry Prison

Date published: 01 November 2017

96 prisoners have been awarded 200 certificates for success in education and training at Maghaberry Prison this week.

Through the learning and skills services delivered by Belfast Metropolitan College on behalf of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, prisoners were supported to gain qualifications in music and art, bricklaying, joinery, horticulture and hospitality and catering during their time in custody.

Speaking at a ceremony at Maghaberry Prison earlier this week, Head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour explained that over 50 per cent of people who come into the prison system have no formal qualifications at all.

He added: “Education and training is at the very heart of what we do now at Maghaberry. Alongside our delivery partners, Belfast Metropolitan College, we 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 their offending behaviour.

“The qualifications achieved also assist prisoners in securing employment once they leave our care. By supporting people to change in new and innovative ways, we are helping to reduce reoffending and to make Northern Ireland a safer place.”

Damian Duffy, Director of Development at Belfast Metropolitan College, said: “The Learning and Skills solutions which the College has put in place are beginning to deliver new opportunities for the prison population across Northern Ireland which can make a real contribution to reducing reoffending”.

For more on the qualifications received by prisoners at Maghaberry Prison go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MOgCm6kGeg

Notes to editors: 

  1. Maghaberry Prison is the largest of three prisons that make up the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Maghaberry is the only category ‘A’ high security prison and operates as the committal prison for all adult male prisoners including remand prisoners, sentenced prisoners including life-sentenced prisoners, indeterminate, extended custody and separated loyalist and republican prisoners as well as fine defaulters.
  2. At 31 October 2017 Maghaberry Prison population was 856.
  3. Belfast Met provides an outsourced service to deliver Learning, Skills and Employability solutions in Maghaberry and Hydebank Wood College on behalf of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6139. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

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