HC Deb 22 February 1990 vol 167 c1051
2. Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to develop a remand centre in north Wales.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Mellor)

We have no plans to develop a remand centre in north Wales. The number of remand prisoners from that area is insufficient to justify separate remand facilities.

Mr. Jones

The Minister's reply is extremely disappointing. We have been pressing for a number of years for remand facilities in north Wales. The majority of its remand prisoners are sent to Risley, which has been the subject of serious concern in recent years. It also involves long travelling times for solicitors and prisoners' families. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider the matter and consult his colleagues in the Welsh Office to ascertain whether some provision can be made—even if it is not a full-blown remand centre—to meet the genuine concerns that have been expressed?

Mr. Mellor

I understand the hon. Gentleman's point. It is clearly unsatisfactory that people should have to travel long distances. In one sense, I suppose that it is good that not too many people from the hon. Gentleman's area are remanded in custody, as that suggests a lower level of criminality than in some other parts of the country. The average remand population from north Wales is about 80 which, unfortunately, does not make a separate establishment viable. That is the nub of the problem.