HC Deb 06 August 1857 vol 147 cc1202-3

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said it was simply an enabling Bill. At present Her Majesty had power to order the removal of prisoners under sentence of hard labour from one gaol to another. Now the object of the present Bill was to extend that power, and to enable one of the principal Secretaries of State to order the removal of prisoners under sentence of hard labour not merely from one gaol to another, but from within the four walls of a prison to the hulks, or to some public works. The idea was, that such an arrangement would be highly useful to the prisoners themselves, inasmuch as, under the present system, they reaped no advantages, either mental or bodily, but came out worse members of society than when they went in. He really thought the experiment was worth a trial; but of course, if the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department objected to the Bill, he should not think of pressing it.


said, he would second the Motion, and, in doing so, he begged to remind the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department that the Bill had passed through all its stages in the other House, and had been accepted almost without discussion. The measure would, he firmly believed, work most beneficial effects, and it had been suggested by persons of matured experience in such questions.


said, he regretted he could not consent to the second reading of the Bill. Its object was to enable the Secretary of State to transfer prisoners sentenced to short periods of imprisonment to the convict prisons, either at Portsmouth, Bermuda, or elsewhere, and which were established for the retention of prisoners sentenced to longer and more severe periods of imprisonment. The fact was, the Bill confounded two classes of prisoners—those committed for short terms and those sentenced to transportation or penal servitude. It gave power to the Secretary of State to aggravate the punishment instead of mitigating it, which at present was the only power he possessed. It also was objectionable to transfer the prisoner to the convict prison or station before he had undergone the probationary discipline which in the case of persons sentenced to penal servitude or transportation was required to be undergone.


said, that as he found the Government were opposed to the Bill, he thought that at this period of the Session, he should act judiciously in withdrawing it.

Order discharged:—Bill withdrawn.