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NI Prison Estates

A strategy for capital investment in NI prison facilities; resulting from a public consultation in 2012.

Project Description

360 cell block at Maghaberry – objective is to provide additional, fit for purpose, cellular accommodation to address the serious levels of overcrowding at the prison and to deliver one of the three mini-prison areas as recommended by Dame Anne Owers and her Prison Review Team. The key milestone is to have the new £40 million facility in place by the end of 2018;

The redevelopment of Magilligan Prison – is to provide fit for purpose accommodation and support services to help deliver the aim of improving rehabilitation for the prisoners held there. This is the single largest capital project the Prison Service has embarked upon at £150 million and will deliver accommodation for up to 720 prisoners with the facility to expand to 1100 if need be. The development programme is scheduled to be complete by 2023 subject to capital funds being made available;

The new Women’s Prison – has been called for by numerous stakeholders including women’s organisations and inspection bodies who have criticised the Minister and the Service for housing women prisoners alongside males within the Hydebank Wood facility. The proposal is to build a stand-alone facility for women that provides a therapeutic environment and fit for purpose facilities that contribute to reducing reoffending. The new £40 million prison is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021 subject to capital funding;

Maghaberry New Visits – is a project to provide a new visits facility together with a welcome centre to replace the existing facilities which were designed and built for just over 400 prisoners – in comparison the forecast population is 1300. The existing facilities are cramped, have poor acoustics and contribute little to prisoners maintaining links with their families. The new facilities are scheduled to be completed alongside similar timelines to the new 360 block;

High Security Facility – based at Maghaberry to accommodate the highest risk prisoners will enable the prison service to exercise proportionate control over the remaining population. Subject to funding being made available, this facility could be completed by 2018; and

Maghaberry Heating Mains – a £3million project to replace the water and heating mains at Maghaberry which have been subject to corrosion over recent times resulting in significant leakages and service failure leading to no heat in the residential accommodation and loss of hot water in the kitchen. A new pipework system will resolve these issues and be much more cost effective to operate and maintain. A contract is due to be let.

Project Status

The estate strategy was revamped and subjected to a full public consultation exercise that lasted much of 2012. The main outcome was that the Minister of Justice announced that the projects above would be developed further with the preparation of business cases for each of them. Considerable effort was devoted to this process with each business case undergoing rigorous scrutiny by the Department of Finance and Personnel (now Dept. of Finance). As at May 2015, the current status of each project is as follows:

  • 360 cell block at Maghaberry – Outline Business Case (OBC) approved, capital funding committed and invitation to tender sent to the shortlisted bidders at the end of April 2015;
  • The redevelopment of Magilligan Prison – OBC was approved by DFP in January 2015 but the project has been held back until capital funding is available;
  • The new Women’s Prison – the OBC has been developed in-house and is due to be sent for scrutiny by DFP at the end of April/early May 2015. The project will be held back until capital funding is available;
  • Maghaberry New Visits – the OBC is nearing completion and will be submitted formally in May 2015;
  • High Security Facility – the OBC is nearing completion and will be submitted formally in May 2015; and
  • Maghaberry Heating Mains – a Full Business Case has been produced post tender evaluation with a contract award expected in May 2015.

SIB Involvement

Within the Prison Service SIB was responsible for the development and delivery of its estate strategy. Our advisor has led the development of all the major capital projects from scoping and feasibility studies through to the OBCs/FBCs for each project.

Magilligan Landing corridor