Ffred Ffransis, the veteran language campaigner, was sentenced on Monday to 5 days in prison at Llanelli Magistrates court and was taken to Parc Prison Bridgend. His imprisonment was as a result of his part in the campaign for a comprehensive Welsh language measure which would include the private sector.In a telephone conversation with his wife Meinir Ffransis today (Tuesday) Ffred said that there is no Welsh language provision in Parc prison. There are no bilingual forms or signs and no Welsh Bible. The court at Llanelli refused permission for Ffred to take his Welsh New Testament with him to prison, saying that there would be a Bible at the Prison - but there are only English versions.Ffred also said that he had refused to sign the remission form which would allow him to be releases after serving two thirds of his sentence i.e.after 3 days because the form was in English only, and it is thus possible that he won't be released until after the full 5 days. He also said that he had refused to fill an English only form to request vegetarian food and is confined to eating only potatoes.
Although the prison is run by the private Group 4 company, they are answerable to the government and have a responsibility to have a Welsh language policy. They have made no effort to serve the Welsh speaking community although most of their prisoners come from Wales.The above is once again proof of the need to devolve fully the powers over the Welsh language from London to Wales. So that it will be possible to create a comprehensive Welsh language Measure that will make the language official in Wales, giving Welsh speakers the right to use their language in every sector, and also to establish a language commissioner.Welsh campaigner refuses to sign prison release forms written in English - telegraph.co.uk - 03/06/09Protesting on Welsh facilities - Western Mail - 03/06/09Ffred has been sentenced to around 6 years in total over the last 40 years, and has served around 4 years in prison. He has been sentenced to prison a total of 8 times. Here are the times he was swenteced to a lengthy period:1987 (Cardiff Court) - Campaigning for a body to develop Welsh Language Education (1 year - served 9 months)1973 (Huddersfield Court) - Welsh language channel (1 year - served 9 months)1971 (Mold Court) - Welsh language channel (3 years - served 2 years)1970 (High Court, London) - In support of Dafydd Iwan, Road Signs campaign (3 months - served 2 months)