HC Deb 18 June 1877 vol 234 cc1946-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to a statement made by Mr. George Potter at a Deputation to Mr. Secretary Cross, on Tuesday 15th May, from Chatham and Rochester Trades' Council (as reported in the " Times " of 16th May, and repeated in a leading article of the " Times " of 17th May):— That, in the United Kingdom, we had nearly a million of prisoners, who are set to work to manufacture articles, the sale of which entered into competition with honest labour: What foundation is there in fact for the above statement; and, if correct, where are these million prisoners confined and at work; whether it is not the fact that the total number of prisoners in the United Kingdom, including convicts, scarcely exceeds 35,000 instead of a million:—thus: Gaols (English), 18,487; Convict Prisons, 9,857; Gaols (Irish), 2,790; Prisons (Irish), 1,151; Total Scotch, 2,966; Total United Kingdom, 35,251; and, whether he will grant a Return, showing in detail and in totals all the prisoners of all kinds confined in all gaols and prisons in the United Kingdom, and employed at labour?


in reply, said, the statement in question was untrue, for the fact was that the number of prisoners, including convicts in the United Kingdom, scarcely exceeded 35,000. He did not think it necessary to grant any Returns of the number of prisons employed in the prisons of the country in manufacturing articles which competed with honest labour. The Prisons Bill, which would deal with the matter, would he hoped be law in a short time, and there was therefore no necessity to comply with the hon. Baronet's request.