HC Deb 23 October 1899 vol 77 cc491-2
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the observations of the learned Chairman of the County of London Sessions on the 18th instant, in passing sentence on Joanna Driscoll, that there was no State inebriate reformatory in existence to which he could order her to be sent, as contemplated by the Inebriates Act; whether, seeing that a man who had previously been convicted seven times in twelve months was sentenced, at the recent Lancaster Quarter Sessions, to three years' detention in an inebriates' reformatory, but the Home Office has informed the Governor of Lancaster Castle hat there is no reformatory for such ine- briates, he will state what course does he propose to take with regard to this prisoner; and whether temporary arrangements have been made for the use of a portion of one of Her Majesty's prisons for a State inebriate reformatory, as stated in the Report of the Departmental Committee, dated 12th December last; and if not, will he be good enough to state what steps he has taken to give effect to the intention of Parliament.


I have seen a newspaper report of the case at the London Quarter Sessions, and I am making inquiry as to the circumstances. I may say that prima facie the accused seems to be as well qualified for committal to a certified reformatory—of which there are now several in existence—as to a State reformatory. As regards the case at the Lancashire Quarter Sessions, I am also making inquiry, as the circumstances of the committal are not clear. I may add that there will be at least one certified reformatory ready for the reception of male inebriates in a very short time. I have abandoned the project of adapting a portion of one of Her Majesty's prisons for use as a temporary State reformatory. My reasons for so doing, as well as for hesitating to establish a permanent State reformatory, are given fully in a circular which I issued last January to Her Majesty's judges and others, and of which I have directed a copy to be sent to the hon. Member. I will only say here that subsequent experience has justified and confirmed that hesitation.