asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the cases of Robert Crawford and Francis Hill, boys aged 14, and repeatedly referred to as "children" by the Judge who sentenced them, condemned by Lord Deas, at the Glasgow December Circuit, to five years penal servitude for the thefts of letters; and, whether, taking into consideration the tender age of the prisoners, and the fact that Lord Deas stated, as his reason for pronouncing so heavy a sentence, that the Law did not permit him to award a lighter one, he will consider the propriety of mitigating the punishment?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
In reply to my hon. Friend, I have to say that it was so obvious that penal servitude was altogether inappropriate punishment for children of those tender years, that I directed at once that they should be kept in ordinary imprisonment until I could communicate with the Judges. I have done so, and have arranged that they should be released after a period of six months of ordinary imprisonment.