Violence Up in Crowded Prisons

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ben Glaze South Wales Echo

South Wales' two biggest jails are dangerously overcrowded, according to a prisons' watchdog. HMP Cardiff and HMP Parc, Bridgend, are running way above their capacities, with official violence figures behind bars on the increase.

Cardiff, which was built to cater for 524 inmates, had 753 at the end of last year, according to the most up-to-date figures, revealed by the Liberal Democrats.

Privately-run Parc, owned by Group 4, was built for 839 prisoners, including youths and sex offenders, but housed 1,088 at the end of 2006.

Prison Reform Trust spokesman William Higham said: 'It is dangerous to rehabilitation and needlessly tough on prisoners to run the prisons' system so hot.

'The tragedy is that so much of this overcrowding is needless, with people held in prison who should be cared for in the community, and so many foreign national prisoners held beyond their expiry terms, whose dearest wish is to return to their country of origin.'

Cardiff's prison population has risen 43 per cent since 2000, while Parc's has gone up by 34 per cent.

Meanwhile, recorded violent incidents at Cardiff rose from 24 in 2000, to 67 in 2005, and in Parc from 115 to 285. …