Republican Political Prisoners wish to highlight the recent aggressive use of the Jail Administration’s archaic punishment procedures and contrived Alarm Incidents to silence and intimidate RPPs.
Over the past number of months RPPs have been systematically challenging the Jail’s repressive regime. We have engaged the Prisoner Ombudsman and the Jail’s internal complaints system, as well as pursuing other internal and external avenues. We have challenged the Ombudsman’s Office on its ineffectiveness, while simultaneously continually challenging screws and Officials also, in this regard. The jail has also been challenged on its failure to provide resources to RPPs which are readily available in other areas of the jail site.
This has been a source of great frustration to the Jail Administration and, in response; they have employed a variety of repressive measures. Disturbingly, they have used a select number of notorious individuals on the landings and on Night Guard duty to engage in obstructive, belligerent behaviour including sleep disruption and deprivation. When RPPs have challenged those engaged in this behaviour the Jail Administration has responded by contriving charges against us under prison rules.
These charges are designed to intimidate and distract, conveniently at a time when the Jail has failed to honour its own contrived `Stocktake’ in which they agreed to allow six prisoners onto the landings at a time, rather than the current four. This was to have happened weeks ago yet, despite repeated public statements, including in Stormont by David Ford and Sue McAllister, the Jail Administration stubbornly refuses (once again) to honour even its own minor commitments. These charges and manufactured ‘Alarm Incidents’ will undoubtedly be used by the Jail Administration to present Roe House as an intimidating environment and, in turn, as an excuse for failing to hold to their own ‘Stocktake’.
These events are personally directed by, and are occurring under the watch of, an English governor, Malcolm Swarbrick, who has overseen a number of fabricated PSNI charges, alarm Incidents and the beating of Republican prisoners. All attempts at resolving potential confrontational situations is met with threats of ‘charges’, lock-downs and the menacing use of Riot Squads along with Alsatian dogs. Swarbrick has engineered the multiple Alarm Incidents over recent months which have culminated in Republican prisoners being beaten, the PSNI arrests, and the deliberate reinstatement of provocative measures that had previously been halted after lengthy discussions with politicians and David Ford’s own Assessment Team.
The Prisoner Ombudsman’s office has been literally bogged down with thousands of complaints emanating from Roe 4 RPPs which has had a severe detrimental effect on all aspects of the ‘NIPS’ estate including Magilligan and Hydebank jails. This has resulted in not only Republican prisoners being targeted, but non-political prisoners also are affected disproportionately to the point where large parts of Maghaberry jail were recently wrecked and then set on fire as a protest by non-political prisoners at being continually locked down and detrimentally affected by the Jail Administration’s efforts to criminalise RPPs.
Attempts by the Jail Administration to down-play, and indeed cover up, recent serious events will not be allowed to go unnoticed regardless of such endeavours to censor.