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Fears grow for future of Magilligan Prison rehabilitation magazine

By Dean McLaughlin

image captionPrisoners write stories about their own experiences, films, wildlife and comedy

Inmates at Magilligan Prison have said they would be "distraught" if a rehabilitation programme was taken away from them due to cost-cutting.

The Prison Arts Foundation said funding has recently been cut for a magazine called Time In, which prisoners have been writing and publishing themselves.

Over 40 prisoners have been involved in the programme.

The Northern Ireland Arts Council said funding "ends in March 2015".

"We indirectly fund the magazine project along with the prison service and the Prison Arts Foundation," an NI Arts Council spokesperson said.

"They will have to apply for funding again like other projects."

David, who is serving time for fraud and theft, said he deserved a chance at rehabilitation.

"I've been in about 43 jails between here, Canada, southern Ireland, Scotland and England, but I've paid for every crime I've done.

"If somebody can leave here with a better vision that there's more to life other than crime, then surely that's better for society itself.

"Prison is not only about punishment, it's about gaining skills that you've never had before."

image captionMagilligan Prison is on a 42 acre site near Limavady

Kevin, who is serving time for drug offences, was an aspiring film critic before entering prison.

"On the outside I was striving to be a film critic and I've tried to pick that up in here and do film reviews for the magazine," he said.

"I would be gobsmacked if people thought prisoners shouldn't be involved with these programmes.

"It's the only way to get people away from reoffending, which is the biggest problem."

Gavin Weston, from the Prison Arts Foundation, said it would be a shame to see it disappear.

"There seems to be this constant threat and our funding has been slashed in the past but I do think it would be a great shame," he said.

Related Topics

  • Prisons
  • Limavady