Magilligan prisoners supported to be better dads

Date published: 12 December 2017

A new project, which encourages prisoners’ families to play a part in rehabilitation, has been introduced at Magilligan Prison.

Parents, partners and children of more than 70 serving prisoners are involved in the Family Strategy Scheme which is aimed at supporting family relationships which have been affected by imprisonment. As part of the project, during extended visits, prisoners get to spend time with their children, while family members are taken on an escorted tour of the prison, visiting health, education and workshop facilities open to their imprisoned family member. Adele Norton, Head of Resettlement and Rehabilitation at Magilligan, said: “What we are doing is bringing together families in what can often be very difficult times. “As a prison service it’s our job to help make Northern Ireland safer by supporting the people in our care to change and, as such, the ultimate aim of this scheme is to support and encourage family relationships; once the prisoner is released the aim is that he will return to a stable, supportive family life, away from crime.” Prisoner support, charity and church groups are also involved in the Family Strategy Scheme at Magilligan, including Barnardo’s, NIACRO, Extern, People Plus and the Vineyard Church in Coleraine. Barnardo’s Project Worker, Ciara O’Donnell, added: “We work with the dads in prison on all aspects of parenting, simply raising awareness of how the choices and decisions they have made impact on the lives of their children and partner.” One serving prisoner at Magilligan added his experience of the Family Strategy Scheme: “When you’re inside your main concern is your family and kids. The family scheme is invaluable. You learn how to be a better parent and getting to spend time with your family in a normal setting is a real boost.” The family experience is often further enhanced by children’s education and recreation groups, among them the animal handling company, Zoolab, which visited the prison recently. To learn more about the Family Strategy Scheme at Magilligan Prison go to:

Notes to editors: 

1. Magilligan Prison is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve. At 11 December 2017 there were 439 prisoners in Magilligan Prison. 2. For all media enquiries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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