Wales will become one of the only countries in the world that imports prisoners if Westminster succeeds in imposing a super-prison on Port Talbot.
Plaid Cymru has accused the British Government of building surplus prisons in Wales to solve England’s crisis and dumping its prisons problem on Wales.
The party’s spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs, Liz Saville Roberts will hold a debate today (Tuesday 12th September) in Westminster Hall, opposing the building of the prison in Port Talbot, which could house up to 1,600 prisoners.
Ms Saville Roberts says that the prison is “not needed and not wanted” and warned of the increasing pressure the prison will put on Welsh public services, paid for by the Welsh taxpayer.
In the debate, she will call for 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.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Plaid Cymru’s Justice spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:
“If the British Government gets its way and imposes this prison on Port Talbot, Wales will become one of the only countries in the world that imports prisoners.
“The prison is not needed and not wanted, and neither is it the answer to the chaos in the English prison estate.
“The British Government has already opened the biggest prison in Europe in north Wales – HMP Berwyn. Once fully operational, it will have the capacity to hold in excess of 2,100 male prisoners. This will already mean 800 more spaces than inmates in the Welsh prison estate.
“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.
“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.
“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.”