HC Deb 29 June 1899 vol 73 cc988-9

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, whether, in the interests of Scotland, and with a view of urging the Government to introduce legislation to meet the requirements of the case, he will call the attention of the Government to the following facts brought out by the Report of the Prison Commissioners for Scotland:—1. That the committals to prison in that country during 1898 have exceeded the average of the previous five years by more than 5,000, and that the Commissioners clearly attribute this fact to the habit of drinking to excess, which has increased among the wage-earning classes to the point that it is designated in the Report as an epidemic of drunkenness; 2. That an examination was recently made at Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow, into the cases of 245 prisoners with longest sentences; that it was ascertained that 171 of these prisoners were under the influence of drink when their crime was committed, whilst only 74 were sober; and that 101 out of these 245 crimes were committed on Saturdays, compared to an average of 28 for the other six days of the week, thereby proving, as this is a typical case, that Saturdays are not only the days on which offences under the head of drunkenness reach their maximum, but that is also the day on winch the maximum number of serious crimes are committed; and, if steps could be taken to comply with the strong recommendation contained in the Report of Captain David Munro, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, that The Public Houses, Hours of Closing (Scotland) Act, 1887, should be made compulsory throughout Scotland, so as to lessen the evils disclosed by the above state of affairs.


The paragraph in the Report of the Prison Commissioners for Scotland, to which the hon. Member refers, has, along with the rest of the Report, been the subject of consideration by the Secretary for Scotland, but he cannot at present add anything to the answer I have just given to the bon. Member for Dundee.