HC Deb 28 April 1843 vol 68 cc1030-1
Mr. Ewart

wished to call the attention of the Secretary fur the Home Department to a matter of great importance. By an act passed in the reign of William 4th, the inspectors of prisons were authorised to put inquiries to the officers of prisons, and to call for documents exhibiting the state of the prison. By the report which had recently been laid before the House, it appeared, that the chaplain and governor of Newgate were instructed by the gaol committee of the corporation of London not to answer the inquiries of the prison inspector. That was the first subject to which he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Another was this—that in the month of August last, a female had received sentence of death, but in consequence of some legal question, which which was to be determined by the judges, she remained in prison until the month of November. On Saturday, the 15th of November, at six o'clock in the evening, a pardon was received for the prisoner, and yet this fact was not made known to the unfortunate prisoner for nineteen boors afterwards. It was clearly the duty of the Government to see that such an interference should not take place in the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy; and also that the committee of the corporation should not give directions which were clearly at variance with the enactments of the prison bill.

Sir James Graham

replied, that the hon. Gentleman must be aware, that the report of the inspectors, which the hon. Gentleman had referred to, was of a very recent date, and had only come into his hands a very short time before the hon. Gentleman himself had received it. As to the first point, the interruption that had taken place, under the direction of the board of Aldermen, to the duties of the inspector—when his attention had been called to it, he had immediately communicated with the authorities of the City of London. In justice to those authorities, with which he had communicated, he was bound to say, that they showed every disposition to make the due arrangements to prevent such an interruption being offered to the due execution of the duties of the inspector. As to the second point, he could not but remark, that a very unnecessary, improper, and unlawful delay of nineteen hours had occurred, and on that point, Mr. Russell, the inspector, was desired to make a special inquiry. Further information on this point was not in his possession.