THE newly appointed President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Donald P Ker, has visited Maghaberry Prison. He said he was keen to have a better understanding of the valuable work carried out by staff, including all of the Chaplains. This was Rev Ker's second visit to Maghaberry, though it has been over ten years since his last visit. He said he was delighted to witness many of the changes and improvements to the regime which have taken place in that time.
Rev Ker said: "I have a particular interest in the educational and skills development opportunities available to the inmates and found it particularly beneficial to meet some prisoners with mental health issues. They are often among the most vulnerable prisoners held in establishments. "The Church can provide a source of comfort and pastoral care to those who find themselves in need of it most. I am deeply indebted by the excellent work undertaken by many disciplined and professional staff. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and found it most informative and absorbing."
The President, who was met on arrival by Acting Governor Alan Craig, was escorted on his tour by resident Methodist Chaplain, the Rev Leslie Spence. During his tour he made a visit to the Lifer Management Unit, visiting Wilson House which accommodates prisoners approaching tariff, and the newly opened Braid House.
The tour also included a visit to Glen House, which holds some of the most vulnerable prisoners, Lagan House and the various prison workshops.
Commenting on the visit, Governor Craig said: "I am wholeheartedly indebted for the religious and community work carried out by the prison chaplains here at Maghaberry.
"All avenues which serve to reduce risk and reoffending are embraced here and the Chaplains greatly assist by offering pastoral support and care to the prison population."