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Warning over 'political and policy failure' in our prisons

Swansea and Cardiff prisons feature in the top 10 most overcrowded in the UK Credit: PA

The Chief Inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick has issued a stark warning on the state of prisons in Wales and England.

It comes after the UK Government admitted more prisoners would have to share cells to cope with an unexpected rise in numbers.

Mr Hardwick said cuts had left the prison system so stretched that more inmates were killing themselves, or getting deliberately sent to punishment blocks to escape crowded conditions.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling rejected the criticisms, insisting the number of assaults and cases of self-harm were falling, and that 2,000 extra prison places were being built.

Swansea is currently the most overcrowded prison in the UK.

According to the latest figures it currently holds 455 inmates, 184% more than it's uncrowded capacity of 242.

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Criminals serving whole life sentences

There are currently 49 criminals serving whole life terms in English prisons, and David Cameron has vowed to ensure that "life means life" for the worst offences.

Those serving full life terms include Jamie Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to the murder of Shropshire teenager Georgia Williams last year.

Jamie Reynolds pleaded guilty to the murder of Georgia Williams. Credit: West Mercia Police

Mark Bridger, who was jailed for killing five-year-old April Jones, is also serving a whole life sentence.

Mark Bridger has launched an appeal bid against his life sentence. Credit: PA Wire
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Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

David Cameron has promised to ensure murderers can be kept in jail for life amid suggestions that the Government could introduce 100-year-sentences.

The Prime Minister's comments follow a long-running confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared life sentences in England illegal because they offer no "right to review".

Ministers believe they can sidestep the ruling by letting judges sentence for hundreds of years, the Telegraph has reported.

New prison could create a thousand jobs - Lib Dem

Liberal Democrat AM Aled Roberts has welcomed the announcement of a 'super-prison' for North Wales, saying the project could create over a thousand jobs.

This investment will provide a significant economic boost in our region.

When I spoke to the Ministry of Justice and Danny Alexander, it was clear that they were impressed by the business case put forward in favour of North Wales. I, alongside my Welsh Liberal Democrat colleagues, have been working tirelessly with Liberal Democrat Ministers in London to ensure a prison in North Wales would become a reality. Many across north Wales, including the six local authorities, have worked together on this bid and it shows what can be done when we work as a team.

– Aled Roberts AM, Liberal Democrat