January 24, 2007 1:53 PM

Responding to John Reid's letter to judges requesting that they use alternatives to prison except for the most dangerous offenders, Jenny Willott Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"In the long-list of government failures in home affairs, the prison overcrowding crisis ranks amongst the worst.

"A mixture of arrogance and incompetence led the Government to ignore warnings about prison numbers, which were first expressed several years ago.

"Welsh prisons are almost 40% over capacity squeezing in an extra 700 inmates over the number they were actually designed to hold.

"There is a strong case to review the mix of offenders sent to prison, but these short-term panic fixes by this Government will provide nothing but temporary sticking plaster solutions to a much deeper crisis.

"Quite simply, the Government has only itself to blame for this lamentable state of affairs."

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