HC Deb 23 November 1882 vol 274 c1910

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If the following ease, reported in the "South Wales Daily Telegram," of November 15th, is correct:— Tredegar Petty Sessions.—Margaret Jane Evans, aged 11, William Cochlin, aged 11, Bridget Murphy, aged 11, Margaret Fordham, aged 12, William Edwards, aged 8, John Price, aged 8, Howell Thomas, aged 14, and Ann Price, aged 10, were summoned by Constable Vaughan for stealing coal. The Bench sent them to the lock-up for one day, which will be recorded as a conviction against them. It is sad to see such sights as these. The dock being quite full of delinquents so young that two of them, aged 6, were ordered to stand down; whether it be the fact that convictions will be recorded in these cases; and, whether he can relieve these children from the stigma of having a conviction recorded against them?


in reply, said, that the facts stated in the Report were probably correct. He, however, had no control over such cases. Everybody must regret that children of this tender age should be sent to prison; but those eases of coal stealing were connived at, if not instigated by, the parents, and. some mode of repression must be provided. One of the arrears of legislation was a measure which he hoped to introduce, whereby he hoped to get at the parents and impose fines upon them, which he believed would have far more effect than sending the children to prison.