WALES'S prisons are “overcrowded, under-resourced and plagued by problems from drugs to soaring suicide rates” and control over them should be devolved to Cardiff Bay, ministers are expected to hear.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts will make the case for devolving justice powers to the Welsh Government in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

The Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP, who also acts as Plaid’s justice spokeswoman, will “make a case for the devolution of justice to Wales based on cold, hard facts”.

She will tell MPs that the Welsh criminal justice system performs worse than England’s, amid recent research by Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre which lays bare the challenges faced in Wales.

The report, released earlier this month, says that the number of people sleeping rough after being released from prison has trebled in almost a year.

It also found Wales has a higher “in-country” prison population than the other nations of the UK, with 177 prisoners for every 100,000 people.

England has 146, Scotland the same, and Northern Ireland 100.

Ahead of the Westminster Hall debate, Ms Saville Roberts said: “The criminal justice system in Wales is in crisis: overcrowded, under-resourced and plagued by problems from drugs to soaring suicide rates.

“It fails at its core purpose of making society safer, and too often has the opposite effect.”

She added: “On many key measures, the Welsh criminal justice system performs even worse than that of England, which itself has a reputation as one of the worst performers in western Europe.

“There are higher rates of violent offences, higher over-representation of black and Asian people, and increased incarceration rates compared to England.

“All of these problems are compounded by an overly complex constitutional division of responsibilities between Westminster and Cardiff, leading to confusion and incoherence in justice and policing in Wales.

“This complexity not only burdens bureaucracy but complicates and negatively impacts people’s lives.

“Today, I will make the case for the devolution of justice to Wales based on hard, cold facts.”

The Welsh MP added she plans to question ministers about rising homelessness rates among ex-prisoners, the lack of women’s prisons in Wales, and the lack of power Welsh authorities have over justice while having to fund public services for prisoners, including healthcare.

Powers over justice in Wales are currently administered from Westminster, with the UK Government previously having claimed that devolving them would fracture cross-border policing work and courts services.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the former lord chief justice of England and Wales, chaired a commission into the future of Welsh justice in 2017 which recommended responsibilities be devolved.

While the Conservative Government in Westminster has not heeded the report’s recommendations, Labour has suggested it would devolve some aspects of the justice system to Cardiff, including youth justice.