HC Deb 06 May 1901 vol 93 cc766-7
MR. ORR-EWING (Ayr Burghs)

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that at the statutory meeting of the County Council of Ayrshire, held last December, all the members of the Visiting Committee for Ayr Prison declined to offer themselves for reelection on account of the manner in which the recommendations of that Committee had been dealt with by the Prison Commissioners, and that the council thereafter passed a resolution resolving not to appoint members to serve on Ayr Prison Visiting Committee; and if he can explain how the situation arose, and if any steps can be taken to remedy the present state of affairs.


As the hon. Member is aware, a Departmental Committee was appointed by the Secretary for Scotland in 1899 to inquire into certain points of prison administration in Scotland. This Committee considered and reported on, amongst other things, the recommendations put forward by the representatives who gave evidence on behalf of the Visiting Committee of Ayr Prison—in August, 1900. At their meeting in December, 1900, the Ayrshire County Council resolved not to appoint members to the Visiting Committee, but made no official intimation of the fact to the Secretary for Scotland. Upon inquiry, the Secretary for Scotland was informed by the Clerk to the Visiting Committee that the burghs concerned had appointed members, in accordance with their statutory duty, but that the county council had declined to do so. The Secretary for Scotland does not propose to take any steps in the matter, as the remedy is, in the present state of affairs, in the hands of the county council.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the recommendations of the county council have never been inquired into?


Some of the members of the council gave evidence before the Committee, and if they were so inaccurate in their evidence as not to bring the recommendations before the Committee, I should say that was their own fault.