The jail population in Magilligan is pushing the limit of the prison service’s own measure of how many inmates it can safely and decently accommodate.
Last year Magilligan was just ten prisoners short of becoming overcrowded.
But the situation is better than that prevailing up the road in Maghaberry, which has been officially overcrowded for the past three years.
Justice Minister David Ford has revealed there were 558 prisoners in Magilligan in 2014 whilst the Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA) figure for the jail was just 568.
Magilligan’s population has grown consistently over the past six years, from 414 in 2009, to 465 in 2010, to 510 in 2011, to 531 in 2012, to 545 in 2013 and to 558 last year. If the growth continues it will soon be overcrowded.