CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has joined the First Minister in welcoming news that two locations in Wrexham have been identified as a possible site for a new prison.
In January the Ministry of Justice named the region as one of three areas alongside London and the North West of England, in the running to house a new facility.
Wrexham Council have announced that Kingsmoor Park (which is privately-owned) and the Firestone site (owned by the Welsh Government), both on Wrexham’s industrial estate, are the two possible locations.
The AM said there were ‘compelling’ reasons to site a prison in North Wales which consultants believe could be worth over £17m to the local economy.
Raising the issue at First Minister’s Questions CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“I’m very supportive of efforts to build a new prison in North East Wales. There are compelling reasons to locate one in this region in particular which currently does not have any facilities to house local prisoners.
“Wrexham Council has been working hard with the Welsh Government which owns the Firestone site and we need to see this partnership continue if a successful bid is to be made to the Ministry of Justice.
“Research has suggested that a 1,500 place prison could be worth over £17m to the local economy and help bring in around 1000 jobs to the area.
“For my constituents in Clwyd South who have family in prison, they currently have to travel long way to HMP Altcourse to make a visits. If there is a plan to build a new prison, North East Wales is a sensible place to house one.
“Importantly, I feel it could help reduce crime rates in the North Wales area. The odds of re-offending are 39% higher for prisoners who do not receive visits from a partner or a family member so it would help reduce the incentive for North Wales prisoners to commit more crime when they get back home after their sentence.
“What is important is that we have an on-going communication with the areas being considered for a site so people living locally can have their say.”
The First Minister reiterated the Welsh Government’s support for new prison in North Wales and said talks were on-going.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
According to ONS statistics, 1,172 prisoners from North Wales were sent to HMP Altcourse between October 2012 and February 2013.
To support the search for new prisons in 2009/10, research was undertaken by Roger Tym and Partners to understand the economic impact of a 1,500-place prison following construction.
Its key findings were:
– £17.7 million in annual revenue to the local economy;
– 926 jobs split between 819 directly at the prison and the balance in ancillary activities – of these jobs it is anticipated that 537 would be filled by local residents;
– A regional impact of £46.8 million per annum and 1,165 jobs;
– Job stability, security and diversity; and
– Opportunities for up-skilling of local labour supply particularly in relation to NVQ levels.