HC Deb 11 March 1887 vol 312 cc6-7
MR. GUILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, What action he proposes to take on the Report of the Committee on the Accommodation for Untried Prisoners?

Sir JOHN KENNAWAY, Mr. CALEB WRIGHT, Mr. SHIRLEY, Mr. CHAINING, had also given Notice of Questions to the same effect.


I will answer the Questions of the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Baronet the Member for Honiton (Devon) and of the hon. Members for Leigh (Lancashire), of Doncaster (Yorkshire), and of East Northampton at the same time. The importance of the matter to which these five Questions refer cannot be exaggerated; and I am determined to do all that is in my power to remedy a state of things which, in my mind, constitute a serious evil. Places for the detention of prisoners immediately before and after trial appear to be excluded by the Prison Act of 1877 from the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State. Their control and management remains, therefore, where it always has been—with the Justices in counties and the Town Council in boroughs. A week ago, I gave instructions for a Circular to issue to all the County and Borough Authorities in England and Wales calling on them at once to take this matter into their serious consideration, and to inform me what improvements they mean to carry out in their respective Court-houses and other places of detention. I feel sanguine that they will everywhere co-operate with me in finding a remedy for evils which the Report of the Committee wisely appointed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh has brought to light. In reply to the Question of the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire, I can only say that after the replies of the Local Bodies have been received the Government will consider what action on their part may be necessary.