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Port Talbot Prison Plans

Port Talbot has been selected by the UK Government as 1 of 4 sites for a new Prison to be built within the UK. 

It will be a category C jail, which will be located on land in the Baglan area and will be part of the establishment to provide an additional 10,000 prison places across the UK. 

The multi million pound development will bring jobs into the town, opportunities for local companies during construction and offer local businesses opportunities to grow once opened.

Whilst welcoming the UK Government investment and job creation potential -  David Rees AM, has concerns regarding the site location and the impact upon local residents. 

Mr Rees said "It is important to ensure that the site is appropriate and suitable and to understand whether alternative sites in Port Talbot have been considered. It is also critical to ensure that any lessons learnt from the building of HMP Berwyn in Wrexham are applied and that the Ministry of Justice commit to full meaningful public consultation to provide local communities with an opportunity to partake in the consideration of this development."

Mr Rees added "I have been aware of rumours and raised questions within the Welsh Government related to the possibility of a prison coming to Port Talbot. This announcement now confirms the Westminster Government's intentions to build a new prison within the town. The application must now follow planning rules whereby local communities will have both an opportunity to study the proposals and to express their views."

Commenting on the Ministry of Justice announcement Stephen Kinnock MP said: "The building of a prison in Port Talbot would bring much-needed construction work to the local area and in the long term would mean more jobs for the day-to-day running of the prison.
 
"However, we will need to look very closely at the planning application to ensure that it is sited in a suitable location, that local people and skills are utilised, and that local materials are central to the construction of the site. 
 
The Ministry of Justice must provide further information, because the community must be on board. The onus is on the government to reach out and engage with us. 

"But if these necessary safeguards are in place, and the community is part of the decision-making and construction process, then this is something that should be welcomed, because the project could be a welcome boost for the local community and economy."

Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, Bethan Jenkins said: "Building a new prison in isolation to looking at new ways of helping to ensure people do not re-offend and to realise the error of their actions, and addressing why so many people with mental health problems are in prison, is a sign of bad government and poor strategy from the Tories. 

We need to look at prison reform, not just build new prisons and assume that it is the only answer. So I cannot warmly welcome this news today.'

Plaid Cymru has been calling for the devolution of these matters for some time. Decisions about Wales, for Welsh prisoners, should be made in Wales. 

"The Ministry of Justice must answer key questions on this scheme. It's vital that the safety of the local community will not be compromised by this plan. There is a new super school in Baglan, and a new Welsh Language School is yet to be developed there.

"The area already has huge traffic problems that the Council are failing to deal with. What will throwing a prison in the mix mean?'

"Plaid Cymru has been critical of the HMP Berwyn superprison in Wrexham due its disproportionately large size and in particular, the pressure the huge number of inmates may put on the local NHS and other services.

"If this is to go ahead, assurances are needed on private sector involvement in the proposed Port Talbot prison. Evidence shows that when private companies are contracted to be responsible for prison security, the safety of both staff and inmates is compromised. This must not be allowed to happen.

"In the long run, Plaid Cymru remains committed to the devolution of the prison estate alongside the wider justice system."
 

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