HC Deb 15 March 1872 vol 210 cc39-40

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the last issued report of the Governor and Chaplain of Dartmoor Prison, with reference to the officers' quarters; whether it is true that these are so limited in number that not a few married officers are compelled to take up their abode altogether at the village inns; whether, in the quarters provided for officers and their families, the ordinary sleeping accommodation is a single bedroom; what steps are taking to remedy this state of things; and, when it is expected that the necessary buildings will be completed, so that the use of association wards for sleeping purposes, a practice condemned by the directors in 1868, may cease?


, in reply, said, he had no doubt the hon. Gentleman was aware that this prison was originally built for the prisoners taken during the French Revolutionary War, and the quarters and apartments for the officers were constructed out of the barracks which formerly accommodated the garrison. The buildings had, therefore, always been somewhat imperfect for the purpose for which they were now used, and a few years ago the question had been raised, whether they ought not to be abandoned. However, that idea had been given up, and he believed the place would continue to be used as a convict establishment. It was quite true the accommodation for officers was very insufficient. There were 125 subordinate officers who lived in the Government quarters, and 44 had allowances made to them in lieu of residence and lived out of the quarters. Of those resident in quarters, there were 76 who had only two rooms each. Attention had been directed to this very unsatisfactory state of things, and a considerable sum of money was asked for in the present Estimate for the purpose of providing improved quarters. Formerly there were in this prison 1,400 convicts, and now the number was 880. Some of these were still associated in sleeping quarters; but works were in progress for assimilating the discipline of the prison to that of other prisons in this respect, and he was informed that the works would be completed in the present year, and probably by the month of November.