MR. T. M. HEALY
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the report in the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter of the plea of guilty by James Doyle at the Borough Police Court, and the sentence of three months' 575 imprisonment inflicted on him for tearing up a trousers and vest, the property of the Poor Law Union; whether he is aware that the prisoner before sentence is reported to have said in explanation—That he was an outdoor worker, and been out of work since the frost set in; that he had been roaming round the country seeking employment, but there was none; he had to sleep in casual wards, and break stones afterwards; and to sleep in barns and behind hedges, and his clothes got into such a wretched condition that he was ashamed to walk the streets. He went into the casual ward on Saturday night and tore his clothes up;and whether so severe a sentence will be carried out?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (MR. H. H. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
Yes. James Doyle tore up both his own clothes and the trousers and vest which were supplied to him by the Union. It was for the latter act that he was sentenced. Offences of a similar nature have been so common in this district recently that the Justices inform me that they felt bound to pass an exemplary sentence. The case is one in which, if the prisoner's prison conduct is good, I shall feel justified in advising a considerable mitigation of the sentence.