87 prisoners granted home leave (Belfast Telegraph)
Almost 90 prisoners have been granted home leave in Northern Ireland over the Christmas period.
The 87 released from custody this festive season compares with 53 last year.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said conditions have been placed on all prisoners granted leave, while applications from a further 74 prisoners were refused.
Six of those granted home leave have been given early release and their time in prison is now over.
Of those leaving jail over Christmas, 55 are being released from Magilligan low security prison in Co Londonderry, of whom two are early releases. Twenty prisoners from high security HMP Maghaberry in Co Antrim have been granted leave, 11 of whom are serving life sentences and one is an early release.
Eight are being released from Hydebank Wood Young Offenders’ Centre and connected women’s prison in south Belfast, one of whom is an early release, while four females were granted leave, two of whom are early releases.
The DoJ said prisoners granted home leave at Christmas have been subject to a satisfactory risk assessment and have either successfully completed a home leave programme or undergone periods of unaccompanied testing in the community.
To be eligible to apply for Christmas leave, life sentence prisoners must be at least within three years of their minimum term tariff or post tariff.
Life sentence prisoners without a tariff must have been continuously in custody for at least 10 years.

Republican POW DD McLaughlin forcibly strip searched on release (32 Csm)
As family and friends of Republican POW Damien “DD” McLaughlin eagerly awaited his releaseon the 23rd December, Damien was facing a final vindictive measure from the sectarian regime within Maghaberry.
As he gathered his belongings, 2 screws asked him to strip his clothes off in front of them.Damien immediately refused and the riot squad, who had been prepared nearby, rushed in to perform their final attempted humiliation with the now regular forced strip search. Damien was then forced to the ground and had his clothes wrenched off in the most brutal force imaginable.
The forced strip search is a punitive act used by the regime within Maghaberry to enable them to assault Republican POWs without fear of recourse.It is legalised corporal punishment…As the Western world decries political apartheid across the world, a blind eye is turned in their own backyard.
Ask your politicians why they are not condemning this sponsored state violence, day in, day out! Ask the media why they are not reporting it, why they are ignoring it! Strip searching was wrong in 1980..Is it now acceptable?

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