Skip to main content

Port Talbot Prison

Volume 637: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2018

I believe that the hon. Gentleman and I have discussed this issue about five times in the past six weeks. I pay tribute to him for being a very firm advocate for his community. We have listened very carefully to his complaints. A decision on this prison is not likely to be imminent, as construction is not likely to be imminent. I would like to say, however, in addition to having listened to his complaints, that a prison built in the right place in the right way can provide significant economic opportunities for an area.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but the problem is that the proposed site is right next to residential areas, schools and a care home; is served by very poor transport links; is on a designated enterprise zone; is on marshland; and is restricted by a covenant saying that it can only be used as an industrial park. The Minister must surely agree therefore that the whole idea is a non-starter and should be scrapped with immediate effect.

The hon. Gentleman has made those points on a number of occasions. We are listening very carefully. Indeed, two members of our Department travelled to Port Talbot, to a very lively public meeting where those points were made repeatedly. We are listening very carefully to him.

Would there be an answer to the hon. Gentleman’s question on the industrial estate if any new prison fully incorporated the work of ONE3ONE Solutions, which was designed more than six years ago to increase the productive and commercial output of prisoners? The numbers given by the Justice Secretary just now suggest that we have not made much progress in the number of prisoners who are working. Will any new prison include ONE3ONE Solutions, and how are we getting on with prisoners working overall?

Particularly if any prospect of their working is in Port Talbot, upon which the question is focused.

If a super-prison is built in Port Talbot, there will up to 1,000 more prison places in Wales than there are currently prisoners from Wales. Does the Minister share the Howard League’s concern that Wales is set to become Westminster’s penal colony?

I think we ought to be very careful with that kind of language. There are currently about 85,000 prisoners within the estate, so having 1,000 extra prisoners in Wales is not the creation of England’s penal colony.

If that prison is built, will the Minister ensure that its chaplaincy avoids the extraordinary carrying-on that has recently been reported at HMP Brixton?

I would like to take this opportunity not to get drawn into the individual case of Brixton, which I am looking at personally, but to pay tribute in general to the work of the chaplaincy—that is the Christian chaplaincy, the Jewish chaplaincy and the five imams I met recently at Belmarsh Prison who are doing extraordinary work with the Muslim community.