“Do not subject my nation to being merely a penal colony” – Jonathan

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The Westminster Government’s plan to open its second super prison in Wales is a clear sign of intent to turn the nation into “England’s affordable penal colony”, according to local MP Jonathan Edwards.

The Plaid Cymru MP called on the Tory Government to halt its plans to build the Port Talbot super prison in the House of Commons debate today on prison reform. He accused the Labour Welsh Government of working “hand in hand” with the Tories in London by failing to stop the prison being built on government-owned land.

The proposed Baglan site will be built to hold 1,600 prisoners, in addition to the 2,100 inmate capacity at Berwyn super prison that was opened in north Wales earlier this year. This forms part of the Westminster Government’s plan to upgrade the crisis-ridden prison system that has been failing for many years.

Plans for the prison have been highly criticised in Port Talbot, with Jonathan Edwards MP referring to the petition against the prison having gained 9,000 signatories. So-called “super prisons” have also been criticised by the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Centre for Social Justice, warning that they are not sufficient environments to facilitate rehabilitation.

Warning that building more prison places will not solve the problem, Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards put forward the case for rehabilitation, evidencing that “smaller, more humane prisons, are what our prison estate needs.”

Speaking in the House of Commons Chamber, Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“This Westminster Government is pursuing a strategy of building an industrial-scale prison complex in my nation, outsourcing the problems of the crumbling English prison system to Wales rather than fixing it themselves.

“The proposed prison in Port Talbot will not even be built to meet the demands of the nation it is being built in.  HMP Berwyn alone has 800 more spaces than Welsh inmates and the Baglan prison will mean Wales can host 2,400 inmates than it actually has. This seeks to benefit no one but the Tory Government.

“The Labour Party must hang its head in shame over the Welsh Government granting its blessing to Westminster to impose a prison in Wales that isn’t wanted nor needed. 

“Westminster must recognise that it no longer has the moral authority to dictate to Wales what it needs.  The devolution of the prison estate and criminal justice system must be a priority – for the sake of offenders, taxpayers and the communities afflicted by Westminster’s super prison policies.”


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