HC Deb 08 November 1888 vol 330 cc640-1
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the statement made by Mr. John Hutton, J.P., at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions for the North Riding of Yorkshire, that 40 boys and girls of 16 years of age and under were committed to Northallerton Gaol last year; that in one case a boy of 13 years of age was imprisoned for one month for being out poaching with his father; and in another case two boys, aged nine and seven years respectively, were sent to gaol for seven days for damaging growing turnips; and that 17 of the 40 cases were sent by one magistrate alone; what is the name of this magistrate, and for what Petty Sessional Division does he usually act; whether the Governor of Northallerton Gaol immediately reported to the Home Office, in accordance with his duty, each case of committal of a child under 14 years of age; and, what steps, if any, the Government propose to take in order to check the practice of sending to prison children of tender years?


No, Sir; my attention has not been called to the statement in question; but I am informed by the Governor of the prison that in the year 1887 26 boys and two girls under the age of 16 years were committed to Northallerton Gaol. There were four cases of boys under 14, three of them being those quoted in the Question. Eleven of these cases were sent by the Stipendiary Magistrate of Middlesbrough (Mr. C. J. Coleman). All the four cases of children under 14 were immediately reported by the Governor of the prison and duly considered in the Home Office. Three of them were im- prisoned in default of payment of a fine; the fourth was detained in the custody of the gaoler till the rising of the Court, when he was whipped. The Reformatory and Industrial Schools Bill now before the House of Lords contains provisions which will, I hope, reduce the number of young children sent to gaol.