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Plaid and Labour MPs call for ‘dysfunctional and unfair’ justice system to be devolved to Wales

30 Nov 2021 4 minute read
Anna McMorrin and Liz Saville Roberts. Pictures by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour MPs will today call for powers over the “dysfunctional and unfair” justice system to be devolved to Wales.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts MP and Labour’s Commons Shadow Minister for Victims and Youth Justice, Anna McMorrin MP are holding a conference on the Welsh justice system.

Ahead of the conference, Liz Saville Roberts described the current system as “dysfunctional, unfair and in need of radical reform” while Anna McMorrin said that “decades of cuts have meant a lack of proper access to justice for the people of Wales.”

The conference marks two years since the publication of the report of the Commission on Justice in Wales which concluded that the people of Wales are “being let down by the current system” and that “Justice should be determined and delivered in Wales”.

Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin MP said that as Shadow Minister for Victims and Youth Justice she saw “first-hand day in and day out the impact of the broken criminal justice system under this UK Government”.

“Decades of cuts have meant a lack of proper access to justice for the people of Wales,” she said.

“The Commission’s report two years ago was clear – we must stop letting the people of Wales down and ensure that the Welsh Labour Government see more powers devolved and get a proper say on the levers within the justice system.”

Liz Saville Roberts, MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, said that the justice system in Wales was “dysfunctional, unfair and in need of radical reform”.

“With an increasingly draconian UK Government making decisions on justice matters on our behalf, attempts in Wales to build a more rehabilitative system are frustrated at every step,” she said.

“It is high time to devolve powers over justice and policing to the Welsh Government. Doing so would allow us to integrate policy with health, education, housing and social policy to create a system that genuinely serves the people of Wales.”

‘Front line’

The conference will bring together politicians and experts from across Wales to discuss the past, present and future of Welsh justice and policing in light of the two-year anniversary of the report by the Commission on Justice in Wales, the organisers said.

Attendees will also hear from the Welsh Government and other politicians about the ongoing work to fulfil the recommendations of the Commission, which include the devolution of justice and policing powers to Wales.

Speakers at the conference will include:

  • Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Chair of the Commission on Justice in Wales
  • Mick Antoniw MS, Counsel General for Wales
  • Barrister and ex-Plaid Cymru MP, Elfyn Llwyd
  • Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn
  • Representatives of Welsh justice and policing unions

“Two years on since the publication of the Justice in Wales report, we will today bring together decision makers and experts – including the report’s author, Lord John Thomas – to discuss the past, present and future of Welsh justice and policing,” Liz Saville Roberts said.

“It is also an opportunity to hear from union representatives who are on the front line of justice and policing services in Wales about their experiences and aspirations for the system.”

She added that Wales has the highest rate of imprisonment in western Europe, which fuels a cycle of poverty as well as health and mental health problems.

“Black people are six times more likely to be imprisoned than their white counterparts,” she said. “Nearly half of Welsh children who are imprisoned are detained in England, far from their homes and family support. There is a chronic lack of community provision for women, which also severs family connections.”

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2 years ago

Long overdue. This will be a splendid opportunity for the codification of the Law.

2 years ago

Reports and commissions have said for years that the system is not working and needs to be devolved, only for Westminster to claim, it can not be done, or the current system is good for Wales, and the last response was , it would cost too much. We can not go on asking, we must demand, it is our right, we are asking for justice, not some kind of preferential treatment, or special privileges, we only want what others have. If they continue to refuse we must take control ourselves. Enough is enough.

2 years ago

Just “devolve” everything sovereignty included.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 years ago

Wales needs Criminal and Youth Justice systems devolved. No if or buts. We have a Senedd Cymru legislature that’s bound by an English criminal justice systems . Sadly Labour are at fault being the self-proclaimed architects of Welsh devolution, who in 1997 pandered to the anti-devolution brigade like Neil Kinnock & Llew Smith etc by giving Wales a toothless Assembly rather than a legislative Welsh Parliament. And in the present climate it’s very unlikely the English Tories will devolve powers being the antidemocratic power grabbing English imperialist centrists they are. Our only option is for Mark Drakeford to request those… Read more »

Doctor Trousers
2 years ago

As a Scottish incomer to Wales, you have no idea how refreshing this is to me. For about as long as devolution has been in place, I have seen Labour, both the Westminster and Holyrood branches, do anything to avoid working with pro-independence parties, no matter how ruinous the consequences. In Scotland, Labour have prioritised fighting the SNP over fighting the tories. In Westminster, Labour would sooner hand the country back to the tories again and again than come to a working arrangement with the SNP. And of course, in 1979, the Labour government chose to let their SNP supported… Read more »

Steffan ap Breian
2 years ago

The gaining of a Separate Welsh Jurisdiction is a major constitutional step forward. The final ciop de gras however, is unlimely to be an easy victory. The Supremacy of the Westminster legislature over the devolved legislatures is what has to be broken so that Welsh law may not be undone by retrospective English legislation at Westminster. This principle is likely to be a red rag to the British Jihn Bull elite as once we win this fight we are well on our way to ratcheting up our fight for independence. A Welsh jurisdiction woukd allow our Senedd to function on… Read more »

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