January 30, 2008 12:00 AM

Commenting on Jack Straw's comments today that plans to build huge new "Titan" jails may not go ahead, Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Prisons and MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"The Government's 'Titan Prisons' plan has barely left the port and already it has hit an iceberg.

"This is yet another example of how the Government's complete lack of strategy has left our prison system in crisis and prompted the damning report from the Chief Inspector of Prisons.

"If the Government had looked at the huge amount of evidence both within the UK and from around the world, they would see that larger prisons are less effective and secure then smaller ones.

"The real problem is reoffending - we cannot build our way out of that. Rather than spending over £2bn on new prisons, a fraction of that spent on education and resettlement would actually bring down crime levels and prison numbers.

"There are thousands of people in prison who need mental health, drug or alcohol treatment - they should be treated and punished in the community, not prison.

"We need decisive and intelligent leadership on criminal justice and prisons, not a Government that writes and rewrites policy depending on the headline of the day."

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