§ SIR CHARLES CAMERON (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the remarks of the police magistrate at Westminster on 26th February, in the case of Margaret Devine, an habitual inebriate, to the effect that although the Inebriates Act of 1898 had been in force fourteen months there was no place to which he could send a female inebriate, and his statement that excluding Roman Catholics there were only fifteen women in homes, and that the Act was practically a dead letter; and if he would state how many persons, male and female, have been committed under the Act, and what steps are being taken to increase the accommodation for the class of cases with which the Act is intended to deal.
§ MR.HAZELL (Leicester)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that other magistrates are making the same complaint?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir M. WHITE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
If so, they are in the same case as the magistrate referred to in the question. I have seen a report of the remarks referred to, and I can only say that if it is accurate the magistrate is under a misapprehension as to the facts of the matter. And I regret that statements so inaccurate as those attributed to him should be circulated on apparently high authority. In reality, 100 females and two males have been committed to and received in certified reformatories, and of these fifty-nine are Protestants. Further accommodation is no doubt needed, and action is being taken by many local authorities with the view of providing it; but the arrangements necessarily take time. Perhaps the best account of the progress which is being made is given in a letter from the inspector under the Act which appeared in The Times on the 6th February. I have sent the hon. Baronet a copy.