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Prison provision in Wales - Report Summary

This is a House of Commons Committee report with recommendations to the Government. The Government has two months to respond.

Author: Welsh Affairs Committee

Date Published: 17 May 2019

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Governance of prisons and provision of services

The UK and Welsh Governments should work more closely together in the areas that intersect in criminal justice, such as health, housing and education. This includes producing a new framework for closer cooperation and integration in the provision of prison services, with clear points of contact.

Video: Prison provision in Wales, © Parliamentary Copyright

Our main findings and recommendations to the Government are:

  • NHS Wales should create a central unit to liaise with HMPPS on delivering healthcare for offenders.
  • HMPPS and NHS Wales must provide appropriate substance misuse treatment to ensure smooth transition for offenders moving from prisons in England to the Welsh prison estate.
  • The new probation arrangements for Wales must be adequately funded, and resettlement policies in areas such as housing should be coherent to ensure that offenders are not homeless upon release.

Prison performance in Wales

Steps should be taken to improve conditions in Welsh prisons, in particular those affected by high population density. Prison performance in Wales should also be improved, especially in relation to safety.

Map: Prison locations in Wales

Map: prison locations in Wales

Credit: Parliamentary copyright

Our main findings and recommendations to the Government are:

  • The Ministry of Justice should devise a strategy to address the retention of experienced prison staff and provide adequate training for new prison officers.
  • Security scanners should be installed in all Welsh prisons to reduce illicit activity, including the importing of drugs and mobile phones.
  • Recruiting new staff and training them well should reduce the number of violent incidents and deaths in custody.
  • In crowded Welsh prisons, steps should be taken to improve living conditions and ensure the availability of activity spaces to aid resettlement.

Management of prisoners

The way Welsh prisoners are managed must be improved, especially distinct groups. Offender management also includes consideration of the particular needs of prisoners from Wales and their location.

Video: Prison provision in Wales, © Parliamentary Copyright

Our main findings and recommendations to the Government are:

  • Women's residential centres should be set up in North and South Wales to enable Welsh offenders to be closer to home.
  • Accurate data must be collated on Welsh speakers, which should then contribute to HMPPS' new Welsh language scheme to improve services for Welsh speakers in prisons in both Wales and England.
  • The Ministry of Justice should tackle gang-related problems in HMYOI Parc, including a consideration of introducing smaller custodial units to place young people closer to home.

Future prison provision in Wales

In considering any new prison in Wales the UK Government must take account of the wishes of the communities close to any proposed location.

Our main findings and recommendations to the Government are:

  • Any new prison development in Wales should give due regard to Welsh-specific requirements, and the programme should be done in full collaboration with the Welsh Government.
  • Any new prison must primarily serve the needs of Welsh prisoners, rather than being an overspill for prisons in England.
  • The effectiveness of HMP Berwyn should be independently reviewed before any commitment to a new super-prison is made.
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