TRIAL: From plush rural home to Ash House in Hydebank

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ASH House, where Hazel Stewart is likely to be accomodated, is a far cry from her comfortable Coleraine home.

Ash House can accommodate up to 70 women prisoners on five landings, including Ash 5.

David and Hazel Stewarts home on the Ballistrone Road.

David and Hazel Stewarts home on the Ballistrone Road.

Ash 5 was opened in April 2007 to provide those women serving longer sentences with an opportunity to progress beyond the cellular landings of Ash House. It is a self-contained landing situated on the ground floor of Ash House. It has communal cooking, dining and living areas, and aims to provide the women with a greater degree of independent living.

Ash 5 has facilities which enable the women to cook for themselves, and all women retain the key to their room.

Each landing in Ash House has 16 rooms (except Ash 5 which has ten).

Each room is ligature free and furnished with a bed, a desk, a wardrobe and a TV. All rooms are fitted with a toilet and wash hand basin.

There is a dining/recreation room on each landing where the women eat their meals and associate with other women. There is also a large outdoor exercise area. Staff in Ash House do not wear uniforms and most of the staff in Ash House are female.

A typical day for Hazel Stewart will begin at 7.15am when the cells are unlocked. This is followed by breakfast and then cleaning duties.

Some of the prisoners will then go to their education classes or to the gym.

During the day at various times, they will find themselves locked in their cells again.

The final lock down comes at 7pm when the prisoners are confined to their cells until the next morning.