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