Arfon Liberal Democrats welcome North Wales prison announcement

Arfon Liberal Democrats were pleased to her plans for a £250m prison in North Wales which will create over 1,000 jobs.

The prison is expected to be built on a site on a Wrexham industrial estate by 2017, and in addition to boosting the economy and creating jobs, it  will make family visits easier, which goes some way to supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners.

The announcement is worth £100m in the current spending round and could be worth £23m a year to the north Wales economy, a welcome announcement for North Wales.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick said a prison in north Wales would help rehabilitate offenders “by making them more accessible to their families, the probation service and the youth justice service”.

Aled Roberts AM commented:

“When I met with the UK Government ministers some weeks ago, it was clear that the UK Government would consider their prison building programme as part of the spending review.

“Going back to when I was leader of Wrexham Council, I have argued that there is a strong case for a new prison to be located in North Wales. Such a facility will certainly bring considerable economic benefits to our region and could lead to the creation of over a thousand jobs. This investment will provide a significant economic boost in our region.

“When I spoke to the Ministry of Justice and Danny Alexander, it was clear that they were impressed by the business case put forward in favour of North Wales. I, alongside my Welsh Liberal Democrat colleagues, have been working tirelessly with Liberal Democrat Ministers in London to ensure a prison in North Wales would become a reality. Many across north Wales, including the six local authorities, have worked together on this bid and it shows what can be done when we work as a team.”

 

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Arfon Liberal Democrats welcome prison reform announcement

Arfon Liberal Democrats welcome Deputy Prime Ministers’ announcement yesterday that our prison system is set to be reformed.

By reforming our prison system and the way in which we view prisoners who serve minor sentences, we can begin to change their lives and also change the nature of reoffending. We agree that we need to move these individuals away from crime and onto the right path, a process which begins in prison.

Short term prison sentences are expensive and ineffective. 71% of 18-21 year-olds (2004) re-offend when they are released, it’s clear that the system needs to be hinged upon rehabilitation.

The plans set out by the Deputy Prime Minister would see more robust community sentences and restorative justice. For those who only serve short term sentences we should be enabling them to change their lives by focusing on individual skills.

In 2003 95% of prisoners needed help with basic literacy, and half of prisoners are at, or below, the level expected of an eleven year old in reading, 66% in numeracy, and 80% in writing – skills which are required in 96% of jobs. Over the last year the Coalition Government have, under Liberal Democrat impetus, increased the hours that prisoners work by 800,000.

The plans also cover support for those who offend because of illness and addiction by diverting mentally ill offenders away from the criminal justice system and towards treatment; and introducing drug recovery wings within prisons for those caught up in re-offending because of drug abuse.

In addition, Liberal Democrats have also pushed for fairness within the justice system by remembering the victims of crime, for example by giving them and their communities more of a say about punishment – things like community resolution panels.

Liberal Democrats are making a real difference, in government, to all of those whose lives are affected by crime.