HC Deb 16 June 1871 vol 207 cc138-9

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a report of a trial at the late assizes for the county of Wicklow, before Mr. Justice Morris, whereat it was given in evidence, and not contradicted— That certain 'official reports' of the physician of Mountjoy Government Prison relating to the prevalence of incipient insanity among the 'untried' prisoners, brought on by the cellular system, and which in due course should have been laid before the Chief Secretary, were from him withheld and suppressed by one of the Directors of Convict Prisons in Ireland; whether any explanation of this statement has been by the Irish Government sought from the Prison Director referred to; and, whether he still holds his office; and, if so, are the Government prepared to institute an inquiry into the truth of a charge of so grave a nature?


, in reply, said, his attention had been called to a report of the trial in question. It appeared to him that the word "suppressed" was too strong a description of the circumstances which occurred. It was true, however, that the report was not laid before the Chief Secretary for a period of a month or six weeks, and when that circumstance was brought to the knowledge of Lord Naas, he expressed his extreme regret that a report of that nature was not laid before him. Lord Naas thereupon ordered a full inquiry into all the circumstances, and the result was that almost immediately a change respecting the treatment of untried prisoners was made. The Director of Convict Prisons referred to still held office; but considering that the circumstances were fully inquired into by Lord Naas three years ago, and that the result arrived at was what he (the Marquess of Hartington) had just stated, he did not see how it was possible for him to make any further inquiry into the matter.

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