Maghaberry prison officers receive national awards

Date published: 31 January 2019

Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, has praised the leadership and enthusiasm of two prison officers at Maghaberry who are to receive a national award from Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.

David Savage, a Senior Governor at Maghaberry Prison, will be presented with the Butler Trust Award at St James’s Palace in London later this year for his leadership in helping to deliver a dramatic transformation at Maghaberry in recent years. The Butler

David Savage, a Senior Governor, will be presented with the Butler Trust Award at St James’s Palace in London later this year for his leadership in forging a series of improvements which have helped deliver a dramatic transformation at Maghaberry in recent years.

Jon Wood, an Officer and Recycling Instructor, is to receive a commendation for his work transforming the prison’s approach to recycling, creating effective opportunities for prisoners.

The Butler Trust Awards, presented annually by the Princess Royal, reflect some of the best – and often very moving – examples of the dedication, skill, and creativity found throughout the criminal justice system.

Ronnie Armour said: “David and Jon have brought great honour to the Northern Ireland Prison Service and are thoroughly deserving of their individual Butler Trust awards. Their work exemplifies all of what we strive to achieve through rehabilitation, reducing re-offending and making our community a safer place to live.

“I know their commitment and dedication has helped transform Maghaberry where we continue to challenge people in our care and support them to change.”

In his role as Governor at Maghaberry, David Savage developed a team which shared his passion and drive to improve opportunities and outcomes for those in his care and to support both staff and prisoners in times of difficulty and crisis. He has also driven forward a number of major initiatives including programs tackling abuse of prescribed medication and poor male health, more purposeful activities as well as developing a review group to support the health and well-being of individuals held in isolation.

Maghaberry Governor, David Kennedy, said: “David has been key to what has been a seismic shift within Maghaberry. In a relatively short period of time the prison has turned full circle, resulting in the most positive criminal justice inspection ever. He has helped transform the environment as well as staff and prisoner relationships.

“Equally, Jon Wood has made an immensely positive impact on a large number of prisoners through his work transforming the prison’s approach to recycling, creating effective opportunities for prisoners as well as making a valuable economic contribution. He is an outstanding example of what a modern day prison officer should be and is a role model for both prisoners and staff alike.”

In his role as a recycling instructor, Jon has grown an initial team of six prisoners on recycling duties to over 30, completing more than 800 hours of recycling activity per week and securing annual savings for the prison of over £40,000.

Probation Services Officer Maureen O’Neill, PBNI, was also awarded a Butlers Trust Certificate in recognition of her rehabilitation of people sentenced to an Enhanced Combination Order.

Notes to editors: 

  1. HRH The Princess Royal has been Patron of the Butler Trust since it was founded in 1985, hosting the Trust’s Annual Award Ceremony and visiting many of their award winners and commendees in their places of work afterwards. Named in memory of former Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary, R. A. (Rab) Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden, the Butler Trust Awards are the most prestigious awards of their kind, and recognise and celebrate outstanding practice by people working in criminal justice settings. The awards are judged by an independent panel made up of Butler Trust trustees, and current and former prison and probation staff.
  2. Maghaberry Prison is the only Category ‘A’ prison in Northern Ireland and also operates as a remand prison for all adult male prisoners in the country. It accommodates a range of sentenced prisoners such as life sentence, indeterminate and extended custody prisoners, separated prisoners, fine defaulters and civil prisoners.
  3. At 30 January 2019, there were 862 prisoners at Maghaberry Prison.
  4. For all media enquiries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.

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