Thursday, 28 January 2016

New Wrexham Prison should meet the needs of North Wales.

I must admit  that Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Robert has proved one of the most impressive  of the new  intake from last May's General Election.

Her latest argument  that  Plans for the super-prison under construction in North Wales should be adapted to include wings for women and young offenders,should be something that we should consider backing .

The £212m Wrexham prison will hold 2,106 inmates and be the biggest in the UK, and the Plaid Cymru MP argues Wales now has an opportunity to ensure that young and female prisoners can be kept closer to their families.

She said:

 “Provision for women who commit crimes in Wales needs to be overhauled to become fit for the 21st century. We still do not have a women’s prison in Wales, nor for that matter do we have a prison for high-risk offenders, whilst young offenders from the north are shunted across the border because of a lack of a suitable facility.

“Given that the UK Government has seemingly made its decision on the Wrexham super-prison, I do believe the Government could change its plans so that the prison better meets the needs of the people of Wales.”
 The demand for prison places in the north of Wales is around 700, not 2000. It would surely make sense therefore to make the best use of the new prison with a conventional prison housing 700 prisoners, and separate wings for women, young offenders and high risk inmates.”

 Ms Roberts argues female offenders often need “different solutions”, saying: 

“Only too often they are themselves the victims of the toxic trio of domestic abuse, mental health problems and substance misuse. Female criminals need different solutions to break the patterns of criminal behaviour.”

It is appalling that we are having a "Super Prison " foisted on us. But if we are two have one  then lets have one that at least meets the needs of North Wales.

We will have the ludicrous scenario of a Prison van carrying a Female or Young Offender  eastwards towards a prison in England  to pass a similar van carrying a male prisoner coming in the other direction.

The United Kingdom has one of the highest prison population rates in the European Union by ratio.

I am one of those "bleeding heart liberals" who  believes that we have too high a prison population rate  and  rather than building such prisons  we need to make sure that only those who can not be placed into some form of community service should be incarcerated.

But even then there is no reason to punish the families of those in prison as well by making them make long journeys to visit prisoners.

We are going to have a "super prison" imposed on us because we do not have the powers to decide for ourselves how we deal with convicted fenders. 

But a UK government if it intends to impose this should at least  listen to Liz Saville Roberts and see that it at least meets some of the needs of North Wales.

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