Swansea MP calls for resignation over prison overcrowding

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Media captionForty prisons across the UK have been told they need to find extra capacity

A Swansea MP, whose constituency is home to the most overcrowded prison in England and Wales, has called on Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to step down.

Geraint Davies said prison overcrowding was reaching "crisis point" - putting inmates, staff and the public at risk.

On Saturday the chief inspector of prisons attacked plans to see dozens of full jails take more inmates.

Swansea prison currently has 204 more prisoners than it should.

The Swansea West MP said the current state in prisons was "completely unacceptable".

He said the closure of 20 prisons, a rising number of prisoners and a reduction in prison staff had seen the situation reach "crisis point."

He told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme: "My view is that Chris Grayling should resign because clearly this is very much of its own making.

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Media captionSwansea prison has spaces for 242, but current has 446

System 'not coping'

"His predictions are wrong in terms of the number of people coming forward, his cost cutting measures have been counter productive and he's now putting officers, the public and indeed prisoners at risk."

The chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, said on Saturday that "political and policy failure" was behind dangerous overcrowding in publicly-run jails.

He said the system was not coping, and warned that because of staff shortages, men were locked up together for 23 hours a day, causing "huge tension".

He said extra resources were needed or the prison population had to be reduced.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he disagreed with Mr Hardwick's comments.

He said overcrowding would mean that "a few hundred prisoners more will have to share a cell over the next few weeks".

He said there were currently 1,000 spare prison places and promised 2,000 new ones by April.

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