March 31, 2008 12:00 AM

Today, the Ministry of Justice released figures showing the prison population has reached 82,602 including a record Welsh prison population of 2,762.

The department also released figures showing that the number of prisoners released early from Welsh prisons under the End of Custody License Scheme has reached a total of 1,050.

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

"Even though over 1,000 prisoners have been released early from Welsh prisoners under Government panic measures, the Welsh prison population has hit a new high.

"The Government's prison overcrowding crisis has become so serious that last week it announced it had released terrorists early.

"Ministers keep on saying they want to reduce the number of people on short-term sentences because reoffending rates are so high afterwards. But the number of people serving less than six months is actually rising.

"The answer to overcrowding is not to nibble away with 18 days here and 18 days there, but to fundamentally re-evaluate penal policy and to use effective community sentences instead of short-term custodial ones."

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