|Imprisoned In Maghaberry|
On 18th June 2015, Republican Prisoners took a Judicial Review (JR) against Maghaberry Jail regarding the absence of identifying numbers on the uniforms and equipment of jail staff. This JR was prompted after a number of assaults on Republican Prisoners by jail staff who escaped accountability through anonymity. This was one of a number of successful JR’s taken by Republican Prisoners in 2015 and it was established at this particular JR that the jail had previously been ordered by a Judge to begin wearing identifiers in 2009.
After a number of weeks it became clear to Republican Prisoners that the jail was in no hurry to comply with the courts ruling. This was challenged again by Republican Prisoners who were told by the Prison Ombudsman and others that the jail had until the 18th December 2015 to implement the changes. This deadline has now passed with jail staff still failing to to wear identifiers. This has been compounded by instances involving abusive behavior by jail staff in the past number of weeks who have refused to identify themselves.
This refusal to comply with the court order comes not only in spite of the rulings of two Judges at two JR’s but also in spite of the fact that the HMIP/CJINI investigators carried out a second investigation after an unprecedented critical report in November 2015. Subsequent to that report great things were promised by the Number One Governor, The Attorney General and the Stormont Justice Minister. However, it seems that securocrats and loyalist reactionaries who continue to control Maghaberry Jail are determined to demonstrate that they are a law onto themselves.