§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is the fact that in numerous cases Irish Members and others imprisoned for offences under "The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887," have been ordered to take exercise with other criminals convicted of crimes of a serious character under the ordinary law, and on refining to do so have been deprived of all exercise, and 1454 have been put into punishment cells and fed on bread and water; whether it has been recently determined by the Government to make a change in this respect, and no longer to insist upon such persons taking exercise with criminals; and, whether he will explain in what way the new arrangement has been effected, whether by regulation or direction from the Prisons Board or otherwise, and to what classes of persons, whether under "The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act," or otherwise, the arrangement will apply?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The General Prisons Board report that without further particulars as to dates and places it is not practicable for them to reply to the inquiries in the first paragraph. As regards the remainder of the question, they report that a change has recently been made in the regulations affecting exercise of prisoners, by substituting for Rule 44 a new role, in which discretion is vested in the matter in the governor and medical officer; that the new arrangement has been effected by promulgation of the new rule to governors of prisons, and that no particular classes are specified in the rules, and as to this, governors and medical officers will have to exercise their own discretion, subject to the general supervision and control of the Prisons Board.
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
In connection with the second paragraph of the question, may I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that no later than yesterday, in Derry Prison, Father Stephen and Mr. John Kelly were ordered out by the governor, to take exercise with the criminals who were convicted of the Belfast insurance frauds, and that when they refused to go they were placed in punishment cells, and at the present time are on bread and water?
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
Is the exercise of political prisoners left entirely to the discretion of the Governor of the prison and the medical officer? Is there any power given to the prison authorities as to how they are to exercise their discretion?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No; the class of political prisoners is not recognized by Her Majesty's Government, in 1455 which opinion, I apprehend, they are supported by the law. I may say that the governor of the prison and the medical officer exercise their discretion, subject to the supervision of the Prisons Board.