Wednesday, 13 September 2017

From Botany Bay to Baglan Bay Colonlism Continues.

Wales will become one of the only countries in the world to “import” prisoners if plans to build a super-prison in Port Talbot go ahead, Plaid Cymru has warned.
The party has accused the UK Government of “dumping its prisons problem on Wales”.

 Wales Online reports that 


Plaid Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts secured a debate to try and stop the prison – which could be built on undeveloped land in Baglan – becoming a reality.
In February this year HMP Berwyn, a prison which can hold 2,106 inmates, opened in Wrexham

1. The prison is ‘not needed and not wanted’.

Speaking ahead of the debate, she said: 
“Adding Port Talbot’s 1,600 spaces to the overcapacity created by Berwyn, Wales will have 2,400 places more than is required. Even if Cardiff prison closes, we would still have a surplus of 1,600 spaced.
“Wales does not need more prison spaces. If Wales governed itself in the same way as Scotland governs itself, and had control over its own criminal justice system, we would not be building this prison.”

2. A new prison would be bad for Wales.

The Dwyfor Merionnydd MP said:

 “The decision to impose this prison on Wales is based on solving the crisis in England, not on serving the interests of Wales. But it is the people of Wales that will bear the burden of this decision.
“The cost of healthcare and policing as well as the additional burden on the community of Baglan when prisoners’ families move to the area and stay in the community after release, will fall on Welsh taxpayers.”
She said a new prison in Wales is not “the answer to the chaos in the English prison estate”.

3. The jobs argument does not stack up.

Ms Roberts said:
“The primary argument that both the British Government and the Labour Welsh Government invoke is that of jobs but if they close Cardiff or Swansea prisons, these new jobs would be offset by job losses elsewhere.
“Port Talbot has been through tough times of late but the answer is unequivocally not to turn Wales’s industrial powerhouse into an industrial-size penal colony to prop-up the failing English prison system.”

4. The prison would be at risk of flooding 

Speaking in the Westminster Hall debating chamber, the MP said:
 “Council officials have confirmed the proposed site is on a C1 flood plain, putting it in the highest bracket of flood risk areas... The prison exacerbates the chances of flooding for over 1,000 homes in the area and questions must surely be raised about the safety of building a prison in an area so susceptible to flooding.
“Just think of the huge implications a flood would have for those caring and maintaining order within the facility.”
Plaid wants to see the “devolution of the criminal justice system so that Wales will no longer be subject to Westminster policy and can instead build a justice system that meets the needs of Wales”.
 Aberavon Labour MP Stephen Kinnock last month said the proposed location of the prison “doesn’t make sense” and warned that construction would be “incredibly expensive and disruptive”.

From this it seems Mr Kinnock's objection is that he  doesn't want it in his constituency  but would accept it being built in Wales.

Indeed it seems that the Welsh Labour have surrounded to Westminster.

Defending the selection of Port Talbot, Justice minister Sam Gyimah s said: 

“When assessing where to build new prisons the Ministry of Justice worked very closely with the Welsh Government to identify suitable sites for a new prison build in Wales. We undertook a comprehensive evaluation of over 20 sites in South Wales...
“After careful consideration, Port Talbot was selected as the best potential site for a new category C prison build in Wales.”

With another  new Prison 2106 capacity prison opened on 28 February 2017, in Wrexham  it seems that Wales will either be thee most lawless nation in Europe or will see inmates coming from outside.

One can only wonder if this decisions were made in order to strengthen the case against a Welsh Justice system.

This is a case of colonialism  and reflects how Westminster regards devolution a attitude that seems to be shared with the Assembly Government.

I would rather see a devolved Justice system which sees Prison as a last resort  and certainly in an Independent Wales we would have a surplus Prison capacity.




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