Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has cited a shocking failure of the newly privatised probation service as a reason to devolve the criminal justice system to Wales.
During First Minister’s Questions the Rhondda AM brought up the shocking murder of 18-year-old Conner Marshall at Trecco Bay Caravan Park in March 2015 at the hands of someone who was on probation and was not being supervised properly. Conner’s murderer, David Braddon from Caerffili, was subsequently jailed for life.
Conner’s mother Nadine recently met with Leanne as part of her campaign to ensure similar mistakes are not repeated in future.
During plenary, Ms Wood said: “There is one case that demonstrates to me in a very striking way why we must have control over our criminal justice system, and why that must happen soon. The case of Conner Marshall of Barry demonstrated failings in the probation system.
“He was brutally murdered by someone who was on probation and who was not being sufficiently supervised under the system that has been privatised since 2014. Conner’s murderer missed eight probation appointments.
“There is a clear link between privatisation of the probation service, the pursuit of profit and poor performance in supervision and monitoring. There has been no improvement in probation outcomes since privatisation began. Staff numbers are down 30 per cent and reoffending rates are up.
“Leaving Welsh probation services in the hands of Westminster has not worked. The case of Conner Marshall shows that the public is not safe under this system.
“Will you support Conner Marshall’s family’s call for an inquiry into the actions of Working Links in this case? And when Wales does gain responsibility for criminal justice policy, do you agree with me that probation services should be brought back under public control?”
In response, the First Minister claimed not to be “familiar” with the case but promised to “look at it and write back.”
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