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February 26, 2008 12:00 AM

New figures from the Welsh Liberal Democrats reveal that a total of 69 prisoners or 82% of all offenders held in Welsh bail hostels housed are classified as posing a 'high' or 'very high' risk of harm to the public - more than double the proportion in 2005.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Shadow Spokesperson for Justice and MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"Low-security bail hostels are not the right place for very high risk offenders, yet more and more are being housed there thanks to the Government's mishandling of our prison system.

"Wales has one of the highest proportions of high or very high risk offenders in bail hostels in the country.

"Not only does this raise important issues about the risk to the public, but it also means that there is less space for low risk offenders, making it more and more difficult for them to re-enter the community.

"Ministers need to realise that the overcrowding crisis in prisons is having a major impact across the justice system.

"This is not a problem the Government can simply build its way out of. Until there is a change of policy the public will be less safe and criminals will be more likely to re-offend."