HC Deb 15 February 1881 vol 258 cc886-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the case of a lad aged 15, deaf and dumb from birth, and reported as utterly incapable of receiving and imparting ideas, who, having been neglected and apparently encouraged in crime by his parents, was sentenced in 1877 to five years in a reformatory in order that he might be taken proper care of; whether the managers of the reformatory having refused to receive him, he is now the inmate of a convict prison, under instruction by a specially retained instructor from a deaf and dumb asylum; and, whether he is prepared to take into consideration the representations of the Directors of Convict Prisons as to the undesirability of his being retained in his present position?


Sir, I have inquired into this unfortunate case. Every attempt was made to find a suitable institution for this boy; but no institution would receive him. An instructor has been obtained for him from the Royal Association for the Aid of the Deaf and Dumb, and I have the following Report from the chaplain of the prison in which the boy is:— Since he has had the advantage of this instruction, the improvement in his habits, conduct, and character has been most marked. I think his educational progress has been fairly satisfactory; hut as yet he is only able to read very easy words. Under these circumstances, I am of opinion that his transfer to another prison would be most undesirable, unless means could be found to continue his instruction. I think that the best that could be done for the boy is now being done for him.