REACTING to the publication of a damning report from the Wales Governance Centre on the penal system in Wales, Leanne Wood MS – Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Justice and Equalities – said:
“This comprehensive report is a damning indictment on how poorly served Wales is by the Westminster-run justice system.
“It shows that we have higher incarceration rates and longer sentences than in England. Our BAME population is also proven to be significantly worse off in the justice system on a number of statistics.
“If we are to end racism and discrimination, it must happen across the board. The hard evidence in this report showing that someone is more likely to end up in prison if they are from a black or minority ethnic group suggests there is much work to be done in the justice system to bring about the equality our society needs.”
Leanne Wood added: “As this report indicates, the justice system is run by Westminster. We must hold this Tory Government accountable for the mess they have made but we cannot let Labour in Wales off the hook either.
“They could – and should – do more with the devolved areas that stray into the fringes of the justice system. The significant number of ex-prisoners ending up living on the streets after being released from prison is something that this Labour Government should be doing more about.
“They should also be more proactive in other devolved fields that are linked to the justice system such as equality, offender healthcare, substance misuse, safeguarding children and prison education. The Labour Government in Wales should be coming up with solutions to these problems or step aside next May so an alternative government can do so.”
Nadine Marshall, Plaid Cymru’s candidate for South Wales in the PCC elections, said:
“The contents of this report, as I anticipated are a true reflection of a criminal justice system in Wales that is lacking in accountability and undeniable imbalance of appropriate services and discrimination.
“Communities in Wales are being denied the basic opportunity to live safely. Both Westminster and Welsh Government have made little if any progress in addressing the very real issues identified in this and other commissioned reports.
“Now more than ever a robust, devolved justice system is vital for the growth of strong communities.”