Record Prison Population Shows Unsustainability of Labour and Tory Approach

September 28, 2007 12:00 AM

Commenting on the news that the prison population has reached a new record high of 81,135, Jenny Willott, Welsh Lberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"This record prison population is yet further evidence that both Labour and the Tories approach to the criminal justice system is unsustainable and will only lead to increased reoffending.

"The Government's lock 'em up approach to crime over the last 10 years has meant that many non-violent offenders have been squeezed into overcrowded jails where rehabilitation resources, like drug addiction or education and skills programmes are overwhelmed. It is no wonder that reoffending is still so high.

"The Tories are offering nothing new other than building more prisons. This will ultimately lead us towards a US style system where more of the population languish behind bars than any other country in the world and at an enormous cost to the taxpayer.

"The prison population has already had serious knock on consequences. In South Wales, the police have had to pick up the pieces of this prison crisis and have been forced to look after prisoners at least 600 times since the start of the year and at a cost of over £800,000 and these figures will only go up and up.

"Dealing with crime is not just about being tough, it is about being smart and using the methods and tools that really work. There is no point in jailing a non-serious offender if, when they are released, they are far more likely to commit a serious crime."

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