Column: The Scandal of 10 Deaths in 3 Months

Sioned Williams MS writes about the scandal in a privately operated Welsh prison

A photograph of the article by Sioned Williams MS as it appeared in the Glamorgan Gazette. The wording for this is contained within the article.

This article was published in Glamorgan Gazette on Thursday 13 June 2024. 


The Scandal of 10 Deaths in 3 Months

The tragic and unacceptable situation that has been allowed to develop at HMP Parc in Bridgend is an absolute scandal.

At the end of May, a 38-year-old inmate died at the prison, bringing the jail's death toll to 10 in just over three months. Nine other inmates have died since 27 February, including four believed to be drug related, while one prison staff member has been arrested in connection with drug dealing there.

There has been other concerning reports coming from the prison – within the last fortnight, 20 prisoners were reportedly involved in a riot with three inmates having to be rushed to hospital following the unrest.

While running prisons is the responsibility of the Westminster Government in London, these are Welsh citizens, Welsh families, that are paying a terrible price for the fact that prisoners' safety and health have not been assured. This is why I raised my concerns in the Senedd.


Last time – a month ago, when my party first raised concerns, the Welsh Government assured us that they’d met with and written to the Minister of State for Prisons, Parole and Probation, so I felt I was justified in asking for an update, given the latest tragic news.

I pointed out that Parc prison, which is run by the private security giant G4S, is the only privately operated prison in Wales. I asked Welsh Government whether they support my party’s calls that private companies should not be running prisons in Wales, that the privatised model has utterly failed at Parc, and that Parc prison should be returned to public control.

Plaid Cymru believes that if Wales had its own justice system, we could most effectively focus on tackling the root causes of offending and reoffending, and emphasise prevention rather than perpetuating a cycle of violence. Devolved control of services at all Welsh prisons would allow the Welsh Government's health and social policies to be better aligned with justice.

When I put this to Welsh Government they assured me that they agreed with me, and that they would be raising this with the UK Government ‘of any colour’.

I will hold them to this.



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