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This week my colleague for Stretford and Urmston secured a debate on the female offender strategy as we mark its first year anniversary of being drafted.

I wanted to focus on three main points within my contribution: the lack of a women’s centre in Wales; the lack of data sharing between the Ministry of Justice and the Welsh Government; and the need to rethink how we rehabilitate female offenders.

I was able to raise my report into prison education in Wales, which I was asked to investigate last year, and note how the limited access to Welsh language resources for female offenders from Wales. Moreover, my review found that there was a lack of knowledge on how women returning from prison to Wales will reintegrate with society.

I also raised my concerns that the number of drug and alcohol treatment orders issues. The number of these treatment orders, which ensure that we tackle the root causes of crime and not just the consequences of crime, have halved in recent years. The longer we go without finding solutions to the problems driving people towards crime the longer we will see reoffending taking place.

The debate was much needed and as the new government is formed we need them to take female offender reform seriously and get a grip of the reoffending rates.

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Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPPs) were introduced by the last Labour Government from 2005. They were designed to ensure that dangerous violent and sexual offenders stayed in custody for as long as they presented a risk to society. Under the system, a person who had committed a specified violent or sexual offence would be given an IPP if the offence was not so serious as to merit a life sentence. Once they had served their “tariff” they would have to satisfy the Parole Board that they no longer posed a risk before they could be released.

IPPs were abolished in 2012, but not for existing prisoners.

There were 2,403 unreleased IPP prisoners in custody in England and Wales on 31 March 2019, which is the latest snapshot of the prison population at the time of writing. Ninety-eight per cent or 2,360 of these prisoners were male. There were only 43 unreleased female IPP prisoners.

I asked the Minister a series of questions on how he would ensure that any flaws remaining in the system were rectified and balanced with the need to keep dangerous offenders off our streets. We must always put the victim at the heart of our judicial system.

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The National Audit Office (NAO) has published its report into the part-privatisation of our probation services and it makes for damning reading.

Chris Grayling – the current Secretary of State for Transport who just had to pay £33million of taxpayers money in compensation to a private firm after he commissioned a ferry service to a company with no boats – was the mastermind behind this decision.

The report is clear that public money has been wasted and rehabilitation of offenders has been undermined. I wanted the Prisons Minister to state who is responsible and what will be done to address these massive failings in government.

Budget 2018

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I got my opportunity to respond to this year’s Budget this week. In my speech I addressed my deep concerns about the continued austerity under the UK Government and their utter failure to support the people and businesses of North Wales.

It is clear that this was a Budget that included more harm than help for people in work. It continued to cut away at our police, justice and international trade budgets and did nothing of value to unpick the hurt inflicted by Universal Credit cuts.