Statement from the Family & Friends of Republican prisoners on Ford's refusal to publish findings
David Ford's refusal to publish the findings of a prison service study into alternatives to the degrading practice of strip searches is totally unacceptable in light of the current crisis within Maghaberry prison. Numerous critical reports into the running of the prison have pointed to the fact that the prison service and, in particular, the POA have time and again used security reasons as an excuse not to implement recommendations, one can only come to the conclusion that Ford, instead of taking on and facing down the old guard within the prison service, is himself using the same excuse to hold back on change.
At every turn in trying to justify the prison regimes position on the August of 2010 agreement with republican prisoners and, in particular, the issue of strip searching, David Ford has been found wanting. He has lost the argument and is now resorting to using security as a cloak to try and hide the truth.
The fact being that not one of the reasons he has given for retaining the degrading practice of strip searches has stood up to public scrutiny. We the Friends and Family group call on David Ford to stop pandering to the DUP/NIPS axis and publish the report without further delay.
Martin Rafferty Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry.