Welsh Young Offenders Suffer Blair's 'Over the Border Justice'

November 1, 2006 3:43 PM

Commenting in advance of the Prime Minister's address via video link to the Youth Justice Convention in Cardiff, Jenny Willott MP said:

"Tony Blair is talking to people in Cardiff today about youth justice at a time when there are no places left for young offenders in Wales. Many will now have to serve their sentences in English units, miles from their friends and families. They don't have the benefit of the Prime Minister's video-conferencing facilities to stay in touch.

"Housing Welsh young offenders in England will undoubtedly make it harder to rehabilitate them and move them away from a life of crime.

"I expect Tony Blair will find it harder to communicate and relate to those at the Cardiff convention without actually being there in person. Maybe this will make him realise what effect this has on Welsh young offenders who are held for long periods so far from those with whom they want to communicate.

"The Government must get a grip on this problem. Protecting the public and cutting the number of victims of crime has to be the number one priority. But there is no evidence that locking people away for long periods of time actually cuts re-offending.

"If all that happens when we lock people away is that they come out more likely to commit crimes than before, then the system has failed them and failed the rest of us.

"I would like to see the Government using the most effective alternative sentences, such as tough community service, rigorous rehabilitation programmes and stringent close surveillance."

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