Parc Prison

Justice – in the House of Commons am ar 14 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question and also for her typically measured and sensitive contribution to yesterday’s urgent question on this issue. Ensuring our prisons are safe and secure for both staff and prisoners remains our top priority. His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service has been working closely with G4S, the operator of HMP Parc, to ensure the welfare of prisoners, and I visited last month to see the work for myself. I am particularly conscious of the importance of that in light of the nine deaths in HMP Parc since March.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee), Shadow Minister (Wales)

As the Minister mentioned, yesterday I had the opportunity to raise in the House the very real concerns of parents with sons at Parc, particularly in relation to drug use. When I contacted the prison two months ago it replied that in the year to September 2023 there had shockingly been 1,600 incidents of self-harm in a prison of 1,800 inmates. Does the Minister accept that parents have been asking particularly for mental health support for years and it has not been happening?

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am grateful to the hon. Lady again for her question. The provision of mental health support is absolutely vital; it is obviously something that needs to be done hand in hand and in partnership with the local health board in Wales. We continue to work closely with the health board both on the issue she has raised and more broadly on the issues underpinning some of the challenges faced in Parc.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Ceidwadwyr, Chelmsford

The Minister will be aware of the dire, indeed dangerous, situation we faced at Chelmsford Prison three years ago, when the prison was placed in special measures. He may have seen the latest inspection report which praises the improvements, especially in being a safer and more productive place and the work done to take drugs and contraband out of the prison. I thank the Justice Secretary personally for the focus he gave this issue when he was prisons Minister, and congratulate the governor and the staff. Does the Minister agree that the lessons from Chelmsford could help other prisons such as Parc and that, with the right approach, even the worst prison can be turned around?

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for her dexterity in asking her question. She makes a very important point in paying tribute to the work that has been done at Chelmsford prison by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State, working with the team and all the staff there. I also note the close interest she has taken and how much that means to the staff and the team at her local prison. She rightly points out that there are opportunities to learn lessons from that which may well benefit prisons such as Parc.