Prisoners say they are being punished for speaking Welsh in a Welsh jail – because the guards cannot understand them.

Lags at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham say warders threaten to take away their ­privileges if they don’t speak English – because they fear prisoners are plotting or insulting them.

Accusations of discrimination by Welsh lags also include being denied interpreters at disciplinary panels.

The claims were revealed in a report by inspectors from the Independent Monitoring Board.

It said: “Some complaints concerned prisoners speaking Welsh who could not be understood by officers.

“It was alleged these prisoners were challenged with a review of their­ ­incentives and earned privileges.”

Ahmed said he was unable to get proper health care while locked up
Accusations of discrimination by Welsh lags also include being denied interpreters at disciplinary panels

The jail, which opened in 2017, is the UK’s largest with 2,100 inmates who are encouraged to “embrace Welsh language and culture”.

A previous report by chief prison ­inspector Peter Clarke raised worries about the lack of staff being able to speak Welsh at the jail, where around a quarter of lags are Welsh.

Many more people received IPP sentences than the MoJ intended
A Prison Service spokesperson denied inmates were being penalised for speaking Welsh

He said baffled guards were unable to monitor prisoners chatting on the phone in Welsh and there was a two-month backlog of untranslated calls.

For public safety, all calls by prisoners are recorded and monitored, except those to MPs or ­lawyers.

A Prison Service spokesperson denied Welsh inmates were being penalised for speaking Welsh, ­adding: “We are providing extra staff training and mentors to encourage Welsh speaking at
the prison.”