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.
Last week I met with the National Education Union who were able to provide me with figures that showed the UK Government had cut funding to Wales by £59million since 2015.
The Secretary of State completely fails to understand the impact of his government’s decisions for Wales. His response underpinned my point. The cuts from the UK Government to Wales has resulted in lower per pupil funding.
When I met with the National Education Union they told me that 42% of schools in Delyn have suffered UK Government cuts to per pupil funding since 2015. This has resulted in an annual funding shortfall from 2015/16 – 2018/19 of £704,782.
On Wednesday I raised my deep concerns that a no deal Brexit would cost Wales between 7-8% of its GDP. The Secretary of State for Scotland wanted to stress that all the Conservative Party candidates didn’t want a no deal Brexit, but what he failed to mention is that they are all willing to carry one out.
What the MPs standing to be Prime Minister have failed to grasp when they state that they will renegotiate a deal with the EU is that there is no one to negotiate with. Following the elections to the European Union Parliament we are now awaiting the election of a new Commission and President of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. This does not conclude until November, a full month after the 31 October 2019 extension that has been secured for Article 50.
Bravado from a small group of Conservatives is driving our country towards a devastating outcome. I have made it clear that the deadlock reached because of the time wasted by this UK Government can only be unpicked by a final public vote. This process started with you, the people, and should end with you.
My report into prison education in Wales has been published today (21 March 2019) and makes key recommendations on how outcomes can be improved for offenders in Wales.
I was requested by the former Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Baroness Eluned Morgan AM, to undertake a review in August 2018 into prison education in Wales.
The recommendations contained within the report are predominantly directed at the Welsh Government and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), but other public-sector bodies and privately-run prisons can take note of these recommendations to improve education within our prisons.
The report made recommendations on the following topics:
• Accountability Structures;
• Inclusivity with Stakeholders;
• Social Clauses: The Welsh Government’s Employment Power
• Through the Gate Services;
• Female Offender Education; and
• Digital Infrastructure. Read more “Prison Education in Wales report”