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Massive Rise in Prison Violence in Wales

August 1, 2007 3:33 PM

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats released figures showing that violence among prisoners in Welsh prisons is nearly 12 times higher today than it was 10 years ago.

The statistics, contained in an answer to Parliamentary Question, show a rise of 1180% in reports of prisoner-on-prisoner violence in Welsh prisons. In 1996 there were just 25 reported incidents in prisons in Wales; by 2006 that figure had risen to 320.

Welsh prisons have seen the second highest rise in violent incidents anywhere in the UK (behind prisons in the North East of England) and a significantly higher increase than the UK average rise of 541%.

The most violent Welsh prison by a long way is Parc prison which experienced 242 incidents last year. Parc prison accounts for the bulk of the rise in prison violence with more than 20 incidents of violence for every 100 prisoners compared to 6 for Cardiff and 7 for Swansea.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"These shocking figures reveal yet another disastrous consequence of a decade of Labour mismanagement of our prisons system that has left them in crisis and the public more at risk.

"I am particularly concerned at the huge rise in the levels of violence at Parc prison. The prison crisis has undoubtedly put huge pressure on staff at all Welsh prisons. But it seems that Swansea and Cardiff prison are coping much better than Parc prison.

"Only last year, Parc Prison received a dismal report from the Prisons inspectors who pointed out serious failings in the safety regime, relations between staff and prisoners and in the provision of education and purposeful activities.

"Systematic violence in our prisons makes rehabilitation even harder, and makes it less likely that prisoners will turn away from crime, so it's no wonder reoffending rates are rising.

"We have already seen that the prison crisis has left Welsh police forces picking up the pieces and taking time out from their normal duties to baby-sit prisoners in police cells.

"We need effective solutions. Liberal Democrat proposals will reduce the prison population, cut reoffending and ensure greater safety for the British people."