HC Deb 01 August 1890 vol 347 cc1539-40
MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with regard to the recommendation of the visitors of Her Majesty's Convict Prison at Chatham, contained in paragraph 149 of their Report, that Durbin, the compounder of medicines, should have his case re-considered when opportunity arises, whether Durbin had been degraded and removed to another prison on the Report of the Medical Officials of Chatham Prison; and, if he has been reinstated in his former position, is he now serving in Chatham Prison, and does he compound medicines for the treason-felony prisoners confined there; has the recommendation of the visitors, contained in paragraph 13 of the Report, in respect of the Scotch prisoners, been carried out, and have they been advised that they might have letters in lieu of visits when their friends could not visit them, by reason of the long distance they would be obliged to travel; and would he apply the suggestion of the visitors to other prisoners whose friends live in Ireland or America?


Yes, Sir. Compounder Durbin was reduced in rank and removed to Portsmouth Prison, but subsequent investigations having satisfied the Prison Directors that he was free from blame he has been re-instated, and will be employed as compounder at Dartmoor Prison, his place at Chatham being taken by the officer now employed at Dartmoor. The recommendation in paragraph 13 has been always the practice of the prison, and a special letter, in lieu of a visit, where relatives are distant, is always granted as a matter of course on application. The rule applies to prisoners whose relatives live in Ireland or America, as well as in Scotland.


Did not a further analysis prove that the original analysis was correct, and did it justify Durbin's re-instatement?


The medicine was compounded from a store bottle and supplied to Daly, and there was no suspicion at the time that the contents had been improperly prepared.