HC Deb 29 July 1878 vol 242 cc520-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If he has had his attention called to the treatment of Thomas Bertram, who was sentenced at Sunderland, on the 14th June, to fourteen days' imprisonment for the non-vaccination of his child, who was sent to Durham Gaol handcuffed with ordinary criminals, and whilst there his daily diet consisted of two pints of gruel and one pound of bread; that he was denied the use of a mattress on which to sleep, and that his cell door was kept continually locked with the exception of three quarters of an hour twice a-day while out for exercise; and, if he intends making any alterations in the existing prison regulations?


, in reply, said, that this question did not rest with the Secretary of State. The whole thing turned upon the warrant of commitment. He was in hopes that by the passing of the Summary Jurisdiction Bill a great part of the evil referred to might have been prevented; but, unfortunately, it had not been possible to get that measure passed this Session. He hoped to re-introduce that measure at the very earliest period of next Session, in order that a great part of the inconvenience alluded to might be obviated. He thought that the unregulated use of handcuffs was a matter deeply to be regretted, and he called the attention of the mayor to this matter, and he (the mayor) stated that he would bring the matter before the bench. He (Mr. Assheton Cross) had expressed his opinion as strongly as he could against the indiscreet use of handcuffs.