The head of the probation service in north Wales has called for a prison to be built in the region.
Many people have to travel long distances to see relatives in prison
Carol Moore said around 400 prisoners from north Wales were currently housed in Altcourse Prison in Liverpool.
She claims keeping prisoners close to families and communities would help re-settle them and reduce re-offending.
But First Minister Rhodri Morgan recognised the difficulties but said the numbers did not justify a new jail being built in north Wales.
Ms Moore, who is chief officer of the North Wales probation area, said: "When we know when there is a commitment to expanding the prison service, we would like to see a north Wales prison facility."
She made the plea at the opening of a new probation office in Colwyn Bay on Wednesday.
She added: "When offenders from North Wales go into prison, they don't just get dislocated from what's happening back at home and they don't come back without any support.
"We have a seamless, end-to-end way of managing them.
"But what we really want is to have a prison here in north Wales. At any one time, we have some 400 offenders from north Wales in Altcourse.
"We have women going all over the country, we have young offenders being shipped to the secure training centre in Swansea and the Young Offender institution at Stoke Heath and all points north."
On Tuesday, First Minister Rhodri Morgan refused to be drawn on whether more prisons were needed in Wales.
But he said: "There has never been a justification for a prison in north Wales.
"It does mean that prisoners in north Wales have to travel either to south Wales, or over the border to north west England.
"It is difficult but there just aren't the numbers to justify a young offenders institution, a women's prison or an adult prison and so on."
In August, Wales' most senior judge Sir Roderick Evans called for more prison places in Wales, saying families often have to travel long distances to visit relatives in jail.
A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said it had plans to create an extra 8,000 prison places, with building work due to start during 2006-2007.
She added: "This will be delivered through a mixture of expansions at existing prisons and building a number of new prisons.
"We are considering a number of sites in England and Wales and continue to keep all options under review."