§ MR. F. FRYE (Kensington, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the Local Prison Commissioners have recently appointed two officers in the convict service to posts in the local service at Brecon and Northallerton over the heads of able and experienced men in the latter Departments who were entitled to promotion; whether he is aware that hitherto these posts have been peculiar to the local service, and filled exclusively by local service officers; that local prison officers have never been transferred to posts in the convict service; and that, furthermore, their applications 1022 to the authorities to make the scale of pay for convict officers' uniform for both services have been refused; whether he is aware that if this course of procedure is continued the prospect of promotion to the post of chief warder in charge will be closed to local service officers; and whether, under the circumstances, he will consider the advisability of giving an assurance that the action of the Local Prison Commissioners in this matter shall not be allowed to create a precedent for similar appointments in the future?
§ MR. ASQUITH
The chief warder appointed to Brecon was in the local prison service already, having been transferred at the time the prisons were handed over to Government in 1878. The chief warder appointed to Northallerton was in the convict service; he had rendered special and valuable service in reorganising the Prison Department in one of the Colonies which had fallen into a very bad condition. The object is to place in these responsible positions the best available men, whatever branch of the service they may have been in, and it is by no means desirable to narrow the scope of selection by shutting out able and experienced officers in convict prisons. Moreover, the reduction in the number of convict prisons makes some of the officers in them redundant, and the Prison Commissioners are bound to provide for them when suitable offices can be found for them. The prospects of promotion of the local prison officers to be chief warders in charge are not closed to local prison officers; a great number of them have already been so appointed to that office, and will continue to be.