HC Deb 28 April 1884 vol 287 cc738-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether any action has been taken; and, if so, of what nature, by the Home Office authorities, in reference to those grievances of the Convict Prison Warders, respecting which the House of Commons was informed in February 1883, that it was "hoped-a decision would shortly be arrived at?"


A Departmental Committee, of which the Earl of Rosebery was Chairman, was appointed in January, 1883, to inquire into the subject, by whom a number of Governors, warders, and other witnesses were examined, and all the Petitions presented by warders carefully considered. The main objects desired by these Petitions were four in number—(1) the eight hours' system; (2) an increase of annual leave; (3) a readjustment of pay and allowances; (4) increased superannuation. After full consideration by the Home Office and the Treasury of the recommendations of the Committee, the following concessions have been granted:—(1.) An increase of staff has been experimentally made in three large prisons as regards night duty, which has much diminished the amount and length of hours on this duty. This has been, found to work well, and the Secretary of State hopes that it will be generally introduced. (2.) The higher ranks of subordinate officers have had an addition of leave, which also involves an increase of staff. (3.) It was thought that certain officers acting as principal warders, but not paid as such, should receive some pay for the higher duty. This has been accorded, the number of principal warders having been increased by an addition of 22 such officers. The total increase of expenditure on account of these changes will be £3,478. (4.) The Treasury are of opinion that if it be desirable to alter the general terms of retirement for the convict service it should be done by special legislation. This the Secretary of State is not prepared at present to undertake.

In answer to Mr. R. H. PAGET,


said, that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department stated last year that the Report was a confidential document which he was unable to lay on the Table.