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Plaid Cymru vows to remove private companies from prison system in Wales

01 Jun 2024 4 minute read
HMP Parc. Photo via Google

Plaid Cymru has pledged to remove private companies from the prison system in Wales, following recent events at HMP Parc in Bridgend.

On Wednesday 29 May, a 38-year-old inmate died at the prison, run by private firm G4S, bringing the death toll there to 10 in just over three months.

G4S has managed the establishment, the only privately operated prison in Wales, since it opened in 1997.

It received a 10-year contract to continue operating it in 2022.

Drug related

In March, South Wales Police said it could not confirm four drug-related deaths were connected to any specific drug but revealed a fast-track process had identified the presence of Nitazene-based substances in connection with all four deaths, with Spice identified in two of the four deaths.

one prison staff member has been arrested in connection with drug dealing there.

Yesterday (31 May) around 20 prisoners were reportedly involved in a riot at the prison. Three inmates were subsequently rushed to hospital.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said that overcrowding means “prisons in Wales are more dangerous than ever before,” and argued that the system needs “a complete overhaul.”

She said that the privatised model had “utterly failed” at Parc and said that devolved control of services at all Welsh prisons would allow health and social policy to be aligned with justice. She added a distinct Welsh justice system could “make all our communities safer”.

‘More dangerous’

Ms Saville Roberts said: “Wales has a higher incarceration rate than any other part of the UK and among the highest in the whole of Europe. Our prisons are more dangerous than ever before, and the UK Government’s plans to release some inmates early to ease pressure on the prison estate are riddled with problems.

“It is clear that the current system is broken and needs a complete overhaul.

“Overcrowding means prisons in Wales are more dangerous than ever before. Nowhere is this starker than privately-run Parc prison in Bridgend, which shows that the privatised model has utterly failed.

“Parc should not only be returned to public control – all Welsh prisons should be brought under Welsh public control. Devolved control of services at all Welsh prisons could make all our communities safer because effective crime reduction and rehabilitation requires control over the entire process of policing and justice, including courts, prisons, and probation.

“This also includes health and social policy, which are already devolved.

“Plaid Cymru is the only party with a plan for a safer Wales. Labour and the Tories’ failure to support the devolution of justice and policing only exacerbates the chronic problems faced in the system. Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands all have their own prison systems, but inexplicably, the UK Government believes that Wales isn’t fit to run its own affairs.

“For decades, Plaid Cymru has made the case that Wales should have its own justice system. Only then can we focus on tackling the root causes of offending and reoffending and emphasise prevention rather than perpetuating a cycle of violence.

“A vote for Plaid Cymru on 4th July is a vote for putting Welsh justice in Welsh hands and creating a system which is fairer and more sustainable for all.”


Speaking prior to this week’s incidents, a HMP Parc spokesperson said: “The safety of prisoners and staff is our number one priority, and our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who have died recently at HMP Parc.

“The vast majority of our staff are hard-working and honest. As with every other prison in the country, we work closely and effectively with the police and the HMPPS (HM Prison and Probation Service) counter-corruption team to crack down on the small number who may break the rules.

“We use a range of tactics to tackle the ingress of drugs and reduce demand. This includes robust security measures for staff, visitors and prisoners as well as substance misuse support to those in our care.

“Tough sanctions are imposed on prisoners found to be involved in drugs, including referral to the police for criminal investigation. Targeted and random mandatory drug testing is undertaken, as is the case in all prisons in England and Wales.”

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Another Richard
Another Richard
1 day ago

Given that prisons are indeed a reserved matter, how do Plaid propose to bring them under the control of the Senedd? Only the Westminster government has the powers to do this, which they are unlikely to wish to use.

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
1 day ago

Plaid plan to have overall control at Westminster obviously.

1 day ago

Problem is not one prison though, the whole court system, buildings, legal apparatus etc., it is all a mess and the sell off of many services means there is a far deeper issues (see post office, thames water etc.). The other problem is Plaid will not get to rule the Uk to remove this.

Wonder what the buy out for g4s would be.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 day ago

Good idea. How can prisons work well when the motive is profit not care and rehab

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 day ago

Cleverly, Home Sec there have been ten deaths in one prison in three months on your watch while you claim that suicidal refugees locked away on old RAF bases are probably lying to get from there…

I suggest you are totally unfit for public service, your views on courting should a warning, I truly hope you never have any say in other people’s behaviour ever again…

I have watched your fall since you joined this gang, shame on you…

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