HC Deb 12 June 1902 vol 109 cc571-96

1. Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £340,929, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903, for the expenses of the prisons in England, Wales, and the Colonies."

(9.50.) MR. HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

said he would venture to address a question to the Home Secretary, regarding which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to give some information to the Committee. That was with reference to the steps which the Department had taken to carry out the recommendations of the Committee of 1895 as regarded the treatment of young criminals. He also ventured to express a hope that no time should be lost in enlarging the scheme, so that its beneficial effects might be spread over the country and not confined to London alone. The read object of the Borstal scheme was that the gaol should be a place, not to end the character of the prisoner but to mend it. In that connection, where was the utility of teaching prisoners futile sections of a trade which would not enable them to gain an adequate livelihood on emerging from prison. The object of the scheme, which he believed had the approval of his right hon. friend, was to teach a prisoner such portions of a trade as would enable him to gain a living wage when he joined the army of wage-earners out of prison, but the efforts of the prison authorities would not be successful unless they received the active sympathy of the public. There was no use teaching a prisoner a trade in prison if, when he returned to civil life, no one would employ him. Therefore, he ventured to make an urgent appeal to all interested in the subject to render it easier for a discharged prisoner to obtain employment. That task would not be difficult on the part of the public, if the scheme which his right hon. friend had in view was to teach a prisoner a trade which would not involve his being placed after his discharge in a position which would expose him to the risk of dishonesty. The attitude of persons interested in the trade union movement on this subject was one which, he hoped, would receive consideration. He thought it would be better if these persons, instead of directing their efforts to insisting that prison labour should be of such a character as not to interfere with trade unionists, came to feel that the greatest saving to the taxpayers of the country, and, therefore, to the wage-earners, would be that prisoners should be diminished in number, and competition from prison labour accordingly reduced to a minimum not worth consideration. Another point on which he ventured to ask the attention of the Committee was one in which the Home Office and the general public were fellow sufferers, through the action or inaction of the War Office. Not long ago a Question was asked in the House as to the number of soldiers incarcerated in local and convict prisons for purely military offences, but when he attempted to raise the subject later, he was informed that the proper occasion on which to deal with it was on the Vote for His Majesty's prisons. He did not desire to make any attack on the prison authorities regarding the matter, but he was anxious to gain information from his right hon. friend. He understood that the Inspector General of Military Prisons, year after year, for at least four years, had placed on record, in his official report, his emphatic opinion that the inclusion in civil prisons in this country of soldiers sentenced for purely military offences was a condition of things which he could not approve. That being so, he desired to ask what the Secretary of State had done to ensure that the War Office should make adequate provision in military goals for military offenders. That was not a matter connected with the urgency of the war, because it had been placed on record in the official reports to which he had alluded before the war broke out. He hoped his right hon. friend who was a man of strong character and generally got his own way, would make it clear to the military authorities that he would not permit of such a number of military prisoners being confined in civil gaols, and that military prison accommodation should be commensurate with the increase of the Army.


The hon. Member will not be in order in discussing military prisons.


said he quite recognised that, but his point was that inasmuch as civil prison accommodation was being encroached upon, his right hon. friend should not allow the accommodation for civil prisoners to be rendered insufficient. The military prisoners who were confined in civil gaols were not the class of offenders for which his right hon. friend was the authority. Their offences were of a purely disciplinary character. He spoke, he was sure, with the sympathy of hon. Members on both sides and also of the public generally, when he said there was a strong feeling that the lives of these soldiers, many of them young, should not be tainted by being confined in prisons with habitual criminals, and the worst of the nation, who had been convicted of the most serious crimes. He would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to make most earnest representations to the proper authorities that they should remove from the convict prisons of the country the soldiers, most of them young men, who were now undergoing penal servitude, not for any disgraceful crimes, from a civil point of view, to punish which rigorous hard labour was established, but for offences committed under the stern law of war, the gravity of which they were, perhaps, unconscious of. Beyond the urgency occasioned by the war or the exigencies of military accommodation, there lay the great principle as to whether the Secretary of State for the Home Department, as the chief civil prison authority of the country, should be asked to house with the worst in the land, young men, many of them mere lads, who had been convicted of offences which could not be called disgraceful, and for which they were being punished in a manner which would make them, in the eyes of the public, criminals for life.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £340,829, be granted for the said service."—(Mr. Claude Hay.)


said he wished to associate himself with the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, in so far as he had expressed regret that the civil prisons of the country should have been required to such a large extent during the late war for the imprisonment of soldiers. The offences committed by the soldiers were very different, indeed, from the brutal crimes of ordinary criminals. For instance, many young soldiers had been sentenced to very heavy penalties for such offences as, after being exhausted by continuous marching in military operations, being found asleep at their posts. That, no doubt, was a heinous offence from a military point of view, but an offence which differentiated the soldiers who committed it from the ordinary criminal classes. Happily, the war was over, and he trusted that now there would be a speedy and large reduction in the number of that class of offenders in the civil prisons of the country. He wished to (joint out that there was a large increase of expenditure under the different items, which amounted altogether to £25,000. That arose unhappily from the great increase in the number of prisoners. They ought to look facts steadily in the face, and frankly recognise that that was due, to a considerable extent, to the prosperity of the country, to the abundance of employment, and to the large wages earned by many of the working classes, which unfortunately were often spent in drink. He merely alluded to that, in order to impress on the Home Secretary that it was really due to the unfortunate habits of the working men themselves that the prisons of the country were so crowded, indeed he might say overcrowded. He referred to it because the Home Secretary had charge of a Licensing Bill which had passed through Committee. He believed there was general admiration at the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman had carried it through Committee, and he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would exercise all the influence he possessed to pass that Bill during the present session. It was not so much a question of £25,000, but this increase of expenditure struck at the very root of the social condition of the working classes, and anything that might restrict the enormous evils which arose from excessive drinking would be most desirable.

MR. JOHN HUTTON (Yorkshire, Richmond)

said he wished to ask the Home Secretary if he would be good enough to tell the Committee whether he had done anything with regard to the conditions of service of prison officers for superannuation. In the earlier part of the session, the right hon. Gentleman admitted that the position of the prison warders was not satisfactory, and he said that if it were possible to improve it, he would do so; and he added that he thought the improvement might be effected by increasing the rate of pay, rather than by altering the scheme of superannuation. The Home Secretary was well aware that the prison officials had not asked for an increase of pay. What they wished for was that their term of service for superannuation should be considerably shortened. He pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman, in February last, that the position of a prison warder was more like that of a police constable than an ordinary civil servant. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to be fully alive to that fact, but he said that the action of the Treasury prevented him from altering the terms of superannuation. He hoped that on further consideration the Home Secretary would be able to pluck up his courage and face the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the proposal to alter the terms of service for superannuation.

Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted; and, forty Members being found present—


said he would only express a hope that the Home Secretary would be able to inform the Committee what he proposed to do towards improving the position of prison warders.

(10.15.) MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)

said he desired to re-echo what had been said by the hon. Member for Shoreditch with regard to the efforts which should be made by the Home Secretary to free the civil prisons of the country of their present unduly large number of military offenders. He thought there could be no doubt that considerable overcrowding now prevailed in many prisons. He also wished to ask the Home Secretary if he were willing to reconsider an answer he gave to him with regard to the appointment of a lady inspector for female prisons. He did not ask that a large number of such appointments should be made, but he suggested that, as a very considerable amount of success had attended the employment of women as factory inspectors, very useful and valuable work would also be done if one or two ladies were appointed to act as inspectors of female prisons. He also wished to ask whether the Home Secretary was in a position to report this year, as last year, that there had been a considerable decrease in the amount of unproductive labour in prisons. He knew that the right hon. Gentleman was doing all he could to carry out the recommendations of the Departmental Committee, and that he believed was also the settled policy of the Prison Commissioners. Further, everyone interested in prison administration would be very glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman how far his plan with regard to Borstal had progressed, whether he had selected the governor, and any other similar information. The success of the plan would very largely depend on the man selected to be governor or director of the prison, and upon the principle to; be carried out there being of an educational kind. Everyone interested in prison reform in the country would admit that the right hon. Gentleman's career at the Home Office had been characterised by very admirable and substantial progress.


desired to put in a plea for the military prisoners in the civil prisons. In 1901 there were no less than 4,079 prisoners committed, and it appeared that at least 700 of those were in the prisons under the control of the Home Secretary. During the war many young fellows had enlisted and fought for their country while under age, and he feared there were a considerable number of these now in civil prisons. No one would wish to palliate the offences for which they had incurred punishment, but as he happened to know of one or two such cases personally, he could not help feeling deeply for them. He knew some of these prisoners whose character was, generally speaking, of the best; but they had been misled into a single offence, and it had been their lot to be cast into a civil prison to serve out their sentence with criminals. In regard to offenders such as these, he hoped the Home Secretary would considerably relax the ordinary methods of prison treatment. Many of these young men, if they were kept apart from the really criminal portion of the prisoners, would make it their business for the rest of their lives to redeem the one offence for which they were now suffering, instead of being tainted by contact with other prisoners, and then, when their sentences were expired, going down hill without a chance of recovery.


urged the desirability of providing more housing accommodation for the warders of His Majesty's prison at Princetown. At present there were twenty-two families of warders living in the village, and, having regard to the limited size of Princetown, and the absence of sufficient accommodation, this caused a considerable degree of over-crowding, high rents, and insanitary conditions. The right hon. Gentleman had been carrying out, with the tradesmen who were prisoners, a very beneficial work in the extension of the prison premises. That work was now completed, and he ventured to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the importance of erecting more houses for the warders in order that the congested state of affairs to which he had referred might be corrected. The Home Secretary took a great interest in the better housing of the working classes, but surely the Government, as employers of labour, should set an example to other employers in this respect.


said the main question that had been discussed was one of more than usual interest at the present time—namely, the question of military prisoners in civil gaols. He had more than once stated that that was an arrangement which did not meet the views he held. He was very sorry that we had any military prisoners in our civil gaols, but he was glad to say they were becoming fewer every year. The hon. Member for Dundee had said that the increased population in our civil prisons was to some extent owing to the military prisoners. Though that was true, the real increase of this year over last year could not be gauged from the fact that on the estimate there was an apparent increase of £34,000. That was an increase over the original estimates of last year, and the hon. Member had probably forgotten that a supplementary estimate was afterwards introduced. Therefore, though the population of our gaols was large, there was little more provision being made this year than was actually required last year for the purposes of their support.

With regard to the military prisoners, the Committee would perhaps have in its mind that there were two classes of military prisoners—the first consisting of those whose offences had been of a very serious character, and who, in addition to the imprisonment awarded them had been dismissed from the Army, and the second consisting of prisoners who, on the expiry of their sentences, would return to service in the Army. The number of the former class had now fallen to about 500. Though these men no longer belonged to the Army, he hoped the time would come when they would be taken out of civil gaols and put into military gaols, but there was not quite as strong a claim for their removal as in the case of those who would afterwards return to the colours. At the same time he sympathised with the view that the gravity of their offences had been military and not civil, and he had already been in communication with the Prison Commission, with a view to seeing whether, so long as these men remained in civil prisons, they could not be made a separate class. A separate class had always been made of the men who were to return to the colours, but the others had been treated as ordinary criminals. He thought, however, that something should be done to keep them apart from the ordinary criminal population, and he hoped to be able to arrange it. Although it might cost a little money to carry out the same principle as in connection with the other class, he thought the money would be well spent, and that we must endeavour to devise some plan for the purpose.


Does the right hon. Gentleman include those who are serving sentences for military offences in convict prisons?


said he was only speaking of ordinary civil prisons. It would be extremely difficult to arrange for separate treatment in convict prisons. He had always regarded with dissatisfaction the presence of military prisoners in civil prisons; and to meet the evil, arrangements had been made to transfer certain prison accommodation to the military authorities, in order that the imprisoned soldiers might be kept under ordinary military control. He was glad to say that the number of men who would return to the colours now in civil prisons was only forty-three, and he hoped that within a month or two they would all have been got rid of. He hoped the statement he had been able to make to the Committee on that point would prove satisfactory.

He entirely agreed with the view of the hon. Member for Dundee with regard to the ordinary population of our prison s. He had advocated temperance legislation on that ground, viz., that the great bulk of the serious and violent crime of the country was caused by drunkenness. More than once he had endeavoured to do something to deal with that evil, and he was glad to think that; he measure introduced by the Government was now in such a condition that its passage this session was assured. Although the Bill was full of points of difficulty and contention, he felt it light to say that he had never worked in a Grand Committee of a more business-like character than that to which this Bill was referred, or one in which all Sides were so sincerely anxious to pass into law a useful measure upon this extremely important subject. Hon. Members might rely upon his exertions to pass the Bill during the present session.

With regard to the pay and superannuation of prison warders, to which the hon. Member for the Richmond Division of Yorkshire had referred, he was afraid he could add nothing to his previous statements on the subject. It was a serious matter to dead with. A more favourable scale with regard to superannuation would not entail a, very large expenditure, but it would involve a very serious principle. Prison warders were civil servants, under the ordinary Superannuation Acts, and it would be impossible for the Government to give them any better terms than those enjoyed by other classes of civil servants. Power would have to be taken by legislation, and the deterrent to their taking that course was not the cost involved, but the strong argument which other classes of civil servants might then have for demanding more favourable terms than those at present current. The police were not in the same category, as they were not civil servants, and they were not paid by the Grown. But he was still in communication with the Prisons Commissioners, and if anything could be done he should be glad to do it.

In reply to the hon. Member for West Bradford, he was glad to say that prison labour was gradually becoming more reproductive. The proceeds for the present year were some hundreds of pounds greater than in the preceding year.

As to the appointment of lady inspectors, he had dealt with that question on more than one occasion. He did not believe that female prisoners were in any way suffering from the want of lady inspectors. He did not think that any number of female inspectors could do more for female prisoners than was now done by the excellent body of lady visitors who associated themselves with prison administration and did such immense good.

The hon. Member for the Tavistock Division had appealed, to him, as a strong advocate of the better housing of the working-classes, to see that the prison warders at Princetown were properly accommodated. A good deal had been done in that way, and more was being done, but he would make further inquiries into the matter.

The only other question was that raised by the hon. Member for Shore-ditch, with regard, to the treatment of prisoners between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. The Home Office were more and more endeavouring so to deal with younger prisoners that at the end of their term they might be expected to become respectable members of society. It was felt that the best way to deal with them was to treat them entirely on the reformatory side. As the, Committee probably knew, young prisoners below sixteen were now being dealt with in one prison, and with great success. The Home Office were now going a, step further and arranging for collecting together in one prison (Borstal) prisoners between sixteen and twenty-one. The prison, would, he believed, be opened and the scheme started by the month of August, and they would endeavour to bring to boar upon those young prisoners influences for good, in all kinds of ways. By teaching them trades, as well as by general instruction and education, and methods of that kind, it was hoped that when their sentences expired these young prisoners would be anxious to leave the courses of life they had previously pursued, and embark upon honest careers. This was not only a more humane but also a more profitable way of dealing with prisoners of that kind. He did not know that he had anything further to say with regard to the subject before the Committee and perhaps now that they had discussed these various matters hon. Members would be good enough to allow them to have this Vote.

(10.45.) MR. HAY

said he was very much disappointed that his right hon. friends had not answered one or two questions which he had addressed to him. He wished to have more information about the provision of accommodation for military offenders, so that in future there would be no more incarceration within civil gaols of military offenders. He noticed that on the 15th of May it was stated that there were 712 soldiers in civil prisons, but that number included those who were guilty of civil offences which must have been very small. It would be far from satisfactory to the House unless the discussion this evening led to the permanent redress of what they considered to be a very serious evil. Therefore before this Vote was passed he sincerely hoped his right hon. friend would be able to inform them categorically that he had determined to adopt measures which would for all time prevent soldiers guilty of military offences being admitted to civil gaols.

MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)

asked the Home Secretary whether he could give them some information upon the question of corporal punishment in gaols. He should be very glad to know if, as a result of the change in the system, the infliction of corporal punishment had become much less frequent.


I should be glad to see flogging abolished altogether in prisons, but I am afraid that in the interest of discipline there must be some punishment of the kind for very grave offences. Of course it is my duty, when these cases are laid before me, to see that the gravity of the offence is such as warrants the infliction of flogging.

(10.50.) MR. DILLON

said it was a mistake to suppose that discipline in prisons could not be maintained without flogging, for it had been abolished in Irish gaols for a good many years. Some years ago the governor of Mount-joy gaol gave up flogging and the testimony of many governors was that they were able to maintain discipline amongst the prisoners better without flogging. There must be something wrong with the system in English prisons if they had to resort to flogging when they could do without it in Irish gaols. The very same argument was put forward ad nauseam at the time when flogging was abolished in the British Army when it was seriously put forward that as a result of abolishing flogging the Army would disappear. Nevertheless they abolished flogging in the Army, and who would venture to suggest that flogging should be returned to. Experience had shown them that brutal punishments had no restraining influence upon men. Why was it necessary to have flogging for the protection of warders from the brutal assaults which were sometimes perpetrated upon them? Outside prisons and in the streets, if a Member of this House was assaulted, or the Hooligan gang killed a citizen by beating him, or if they robbed him, flogging was not adopted. In the case of a warder who was always on guard and was protected more or less, why should he have a special form of protection which was denied to the citizen or to the ordinary policeman. A far greater number of brutal assaults occurred outside than inside prisons, and he strongly protested against the maintenance of this form of punishment. He wished to raise his voice against this practice of flogging in English gaols, for it had been long ago abolished in Irish gaols.


said he should be compelled to move a reduction in the Vote unless an answer was given to his question in relation to the confinement of military prisoners in civil prisons.


My hon. friend, of course, will take what action he pleases, but I have dealt fully with the question and have nothing more to add upon that point.


said that under the circumstances he felt bound to move the reduction of the Vote by £100. When he found that a categorical question, put in the public interest, did not receive a reply, he felt bound to adopt this course.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.)

said he was not aware what statistics the Home Secretary had got with regard to the number of military men in prisons. From the Reports which had been published, he gathered that in 1900 there were in civil prisons 1,743 soldiers and sailors who were sentenced by courts-martial, and in the Report published last year the number of soldiers and sailors who were in civil prisons under sentence by courts-martial was 4,079. He could not understand how the Home Secretary could now state that the number was between 400 and 500. On the first page of the Report it was stated that the number of persons received in local prisons was 114,600, besides 4,779 soldiers and sailors sentenced by courts-martial. There were also 12,576 persons in prison as debtors, and 1,539 for default of sureties, making a total of 166,794. That statement did not correspond with what the Home Secretary had just said. There were also in the same Report comments upon the excess of numbers in civil prisons, and it was pointed out that the discipline in a military prison was of a totally different character to a civil prison, and that there ought to be complete separation between the two cases. Those facts were brought before the notice of the Home Office, and what had the Home Secretary done? He told them in the course of this Debate that he was going to remedy this, but he bad been telling them this for the last six years. It was astonishing that nothing had been done. He thought this was a complete justification for reducing the Vote, and he wished to protest against the mariner in which military and naval men were being kept in civil prisons.


The hon. Member is very fond of perusing Blue-books and showing his familiarity with figures which does great credit to his powers of research. He has quoted 4,000 as the number of military prisoners, but that is the total number of prisoners who have passed through the prisons in the course of the whole year dealt with in the Report. The numbers I quoted were those who were actually in prison on a given day—ten days or so ago,

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

said there was a certain amount of indefiniteness about the Statement made by the Home Secretary. What the hon. Member for Hoxton wished to know was if the reduction of military prisoners in civil prisons arose in consequence of some new system that was going on, and was likely to continue; and would that system prevent any increase in the number of military prisoners in civil prisons?


I confess that I did not quite understand my hon. friend's question before. That is precisely the system we are pursuing. We are determined to get rid of the necessity of taking charge of military prisons in civil gaols. The military authorities have been gradually creating prisons for their own prisoners, and the Home Office has assisted by handing over certain of their prisons to the military authorities. The result will be that we shall cease to have any military prisoners of the second class described by me in our prisons.


said he had certainly misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman's reply, and he assured him that he had no wish whatever to make himself disagreeable. Now that he understood that arrangements were being made, whereby no military offenders would be put in civil gaols, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

(11.10.) MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)

called the attention of the Committee to the evil arising from sending military prisoners to civil gaols. Many of the military prisoners were lads, and it was very undesirable that they should be allowed to associate with prisoners of the worst description. He was afraid there were offences which would continue until the present system of enlisting boys was stopped. He hoped the Home Secretary would look into this matter, and that they would hear no more of the evil referred to.

2. £120,908, to complete the sum for Reformatory and industrial Schools, Great Britain.

MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)

said the Home Secretary had informed the House of the great importance he attached to the work done in the reformatories. He wished to refer to the question of the management of these institutions, and to the Home Office control. He believed that the Home Office had the power to suspend the certificate, and to stop public grants to an institution which was not in a satisfactory position. There were about forty-eight certified reformatories, and about 152 certified industrial schools. Of the former, none were under the management of public bodies, and of the latter only nineteen were so managed, there being no public control in the case of all the rest, beyond that provided by the inspectors of the Home Office. Of the total income of the reformatories, fully 85 per cent. was provided from public sources, and for the industrial schools the proportion was even larger. The religious influences of the reformatories were undoubtedly good, but they ought not to allow this consideration to entirely outweigh the equally great consideration of the sanitary surroundings in which these boys were found. It was the case that nearly every one of the reformatories was overcrowded, and the sanitary condition of many of them was condemned in very strong terms by the inspectors of the Home Office. The state of things was such as not only to be bad for the health of the boys, but had also in their moral influence, especially when the surroundings from which they originally came were considered. In spite of the facts disclosed in the inspectors' reports, he did not know of any case in which the Home Office had exercised its right of punishing the managers for not keeping their institutions in a better state by withholding from them the public grant. If private management could not supply sufficient reformatories to accommodate the boys committed to them in decent surroundings, it was surely necessary for the State to under take the work. He trusted the Home Secretary would give his attention to this matter, and if he did, he had every confidence that the right hon. Gentleman would soon find a remedy for a very unsatisfactory state of things.


There is no doubt that the class of children sent to these schools, are in many ways difficult to deal with. I can quite understand that in some of the institutions, perhaps, the sanitary conditions may not be up to what we consider the right mark, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that if he brings to my notice any particular case which he thinks requires particular investigation in matters of this kind, I will take care that it is fully inquired into. While we have a large number of these institutions under local management, we cannot have the same amount of control as if they were institutions belonging to the State. The hon. Gentleman's remedy for that is that they should cease to be under local management, and that they should all become State institutions.


said he had no objection to their remaining as they were, if they were properly managed.


I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the inspectors are continually endeavouring to stir up the managers of these institutions, with a view to their being carried on in a mariner satisfactory both in regard to sanitary arrangements and otherwise, but the inspectors cannot always be on the spot, and I can conceive that there may be circumstances which ought to be seen to and remedied. I will discuss the matter with the inspectors, from the point of view the hon. Gentleman mentions, and if I can do anything to stir up the managers to take care that the institutions are kept in a creditable manner, I will be very glad to do so. This we can say with a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure—that the records of the children who leave these institutions are, as a rule, most highly creditable both to the children and to the institutions. I will not weary the Committee at the present time with any details of the records of those children when they go out into the world, but they are very remarkable. I gave some of them last year. I showed that they got into excellent employment, and that they did extremely well after leaving the institutions. A great many have gone into the Army and Navy, and a huge number have been to the front. Many of them have got great distinction, and I three of them got the Victoria Cross. Many of them received the "Distinguished Service" order. Some of them have obtained commissions, and so far as regards the results which follow the training given in these institutions, we have every reason to congratulate the managers on the success of their management. I will take care to have a consultation with the inspectors, with the view of seeing whether something can be done in the direction the hon. Gentleman desires.


said he fully appreciated the sympathetic reply the Home Secretary had given to his hon. friend. The great difficulty was that so many of these schools were not in any sense under public control. Of the forty-eight reformatories there was not one under public control, and out of 192 Industrial Schools only nineteen were under the management of public bodies. It would be acknowledged by everybody that when such a number of these important institutions were in private hands, it was all the more necessary that the inspection should be complete and thorough. He asked the Home Secretary to bring some pressure to bear upon the management to remedy the complaints in the inspectors' Reports. Last year there were fifteen adverse Reports in reference to accommodation and sanitation, and yet it did not appear that any effect followed. These Reports did not attract public attention, but considering that eighty-five per cent. of the maintenance was drawn from public sources, the Home Office would be justified in withdrawing certificates if no remedy was provided for repeated complaints. He did not think it would be a harmful thing, if the certificates were withdrawn from those institutions which were adversely reported on.


I am bound to say that whatever may have been said in the way of threat, I have never been guilty of putting it into execution. The hon. Gentleman has himself frankly stated a strong reason why we should not do it. It would be a strong thing to close an institution, where the children are doing well. What happens in nine cases out of ten is that when a fault is pointed out to the managers, they promise that the fault will be remedied. The inspectors bring pressure to bear on the managers of the institutions to have the necessary alterations made. Whether they always do what they ought to do is another question. I think the hon. Gentleman and the Committee will see that to adopt the course which has been suggested, rather than to give managers the option of remedying defects of which complaint has been made, might be attended with disadvantage to the cause which we all have at heart. I can only say, what I daresay hon. Members know, that our inspectors have their hearts very much in the work, and are desirous that everything should be done to remedy defects in the management of the institutions. I should be sorry to be driven to take the course which the hon. Gentleman suggests, though I can conceive circumstances in which it might be necessary.


said he came across a case in his own neighbourhood where there was trouble some time ago in regard to the treatment of boys. He thought that a threat to publish in the local newspapers the Reports which were adverse to the institutions, so that the subscribing public might know that they were helping to support places which were not carried on properly, would have a beneficial effect on badly managed schools.

SIR JOHN DORINGON (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)

said the hon. Member for Dewsbury suggested that all these schools should be placed under public control. If they looked into the history of reformatories they would find that almost the first instituted were under public control, and they were absolute failures. The system of private management had resulted in what he thought was the present success. Having been a member of a Commission to enquire into these schools a few years ago, he was able to say that the system, as a whole, had been extraordinarily successful. He would ask the hon. Member to visit the great school at Redhill, one of the first established in the country. That was a most successful school; and so also was the Feltham school, originally instituted under the private Act of Parliament. The Feltham school was at first not altogether successful, because it was too official; but changes in the type of management had been made, and since then the school had been most successful. Undoubtedly the inspectors under the Home Department exercised a very effective control. Their remarks and observations were not neglected It was true that these were only published in the Blue-books, but they were brought to the knowledge of the managers of the schools who were practically forced to attend to the recommendations made. He did not think the schools could be carried on without that inspection. He believed his right hon. friend the Home Secretary was fully satisfied that his Department had successfully carried on their duties, and that where defects were found, strong pressure was brought to bear on the school managers to correct them.

MR. SOARES (Devonshire, Barnstaple)

said that the Home Secretary seemed to find himself with regard to these Reformatory schools in much the same position as the managers of the Voluntary Schools would find themselves in under the Education Act. He found practically all the money, and yet had no effective control. It was said on the Debate on the Second Reading of the Education Bill that the best plan to get defects cured was to write to the newspapers calling attention to them. He wanted to know whether the Home Secretary intended to follow the advice of the First Lord of the Treasury. But, at any rate he would impress on the Home Secretary that if these Reports were published in the local newspapers much good might be done.


said he could not agree with all the criticisms made on the Industrial and Reformatory Schools. He had taken the trouble last winter to visit all the institutions of the kind in his own neighbourhood, and most of them, both for boys and girls were, he thought, admirably conducted. In some of the boys' schools there was a certain amount of roughness, but the girls' schools, both Protestant and Catholic he admired very thoroughly. He did not in the least desire that the remedy should be introduced of taking the personal element out of the management of the schools and putting them under a public Board. Of course there was a public Board in the neighbourhood, as well as the Home Office in spectors; but in all the successful schools, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, that success was due to the personal influence of the superintendent or the sister-in-charge. It was most striking and interesting to hear in these schools that the girls, whether drawn from the criminal classes or the industrial classes, were proud to come back in after life and bring their husbands and children to see where they had been brought up. That showed how the managers of the schools kept in touch with the girls in after life, and continued to take a personal and family interest in them. The girls were regarded, not as mere subjects to be cured, but as human, living women, and that it was which made the success of the schools which he saw and admired. He felt that the training which the girls were getting was a great deal more valuable and useful to them in after life than that which the girls received in Board Schools. In particular, he admired very much the day Industrial Schools which were doing a good work, and that part of the system ought to be extended very much. These day Industrial Schools would be able to take in a vast number of children who were not in a position to be sent away for a long time to an ordinary Industrial School, but who ought, on account of backwardness or truancy, to go to a day school in which they would be turned out excellent material.


said they had got the usual answer of the Home Secretary to matters of this kind. The right hon. Gentleman promised to do everything he could to get the grievances remedied. He had the Reports of his inspectors in his hands, but what had he done to carry out his promises, and in how many cases had he intervened? The hon. Member for Partick said he had been inspecting the schools about Glasgow, and had found them admirable. But there was a school in the hon. Member's constituency on which the inspector reported that the schoolrooms were defective, and the results far below the mark. There had been an excess and abuse of punishment, and the Report wound up by saying that there was to be a change in the management.


There has been.


said that that was perfectly true, but there were other cases mentioned in the Reports. He would like to know whether that change had been brought about by the Home Secretary. He rather thought it was from local circumstances. A great many of the boys had absconded, giving as an excuse that they had been whipped in the schoolroom. A good deal of public attention was called to the matter, and that was how the school management had been reformed. Then there was a school at Paisley containing 121 boys and 49 girls on which the inspector reported that the buildings were in a poor state, and that new buildings in a more suitable position were absolutely needed. He had no doubt the Home Secretary had had his attention called to the matter, but what had he done? He had been surprised at the number of defects in many of these schools. It was obvious that these were the most important schools in the country, because they were dealing with people who were bordering on crime. That was a class which should be dealt with in institutions under the control of the Government, and amply supplied with teachers; but they were left to be dealt with by private enterprise, by people who had not the requisite funds to provide proper buildings, and how could it be expected that private people should do what was, after all, the duty of the State. The system was bad, and the same argument applied to the Training Colleges.

MR. PLUMMER (Newcastle-on-Tyne)

thought that before the discussion closed the attention of the Committee should be drawn to the fact that the Report from which the hon. Member for Dews-bury had quoted, and which had condemned the management of the Chadwick Memorial School at Newcastle, was three or four years old. Now he knew that, in spite of the difficult circumstances of the case, great efforts had been made to improve the condition of that particular institution. He did not think the hon. Member should leave any unfavourable impression on the minds of the Committee as to the condition of that school, unless he was perfectly sure that the condition of things then complained of still continued.


said that he had quoted from the Report of 1899. He had not made any wholesale condemnation of Reformatory Schools, because he knew some had done and were doing good work. What he complained of was that in many of them the sanitary conditions were so bad that the boys were not taught to adopt cleanly habits. The Home Secretary had asked hon. Members to give particular instances of defects or of mal-administration; but he did not see why private Members should undertake the duty of his own inspectors. However, he would be very glad to go into any cases he personally knew with the right hon. Gentleman. For his part he was perfectly well satisfied with the promise made by the right hon. Gentleman that night, and with that he would rest content.


said that the Report for 1901 in respect of this particular institution in Newcastle referred to disclosed a very different state of things from that described by the hon. Member. Vote agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed "That a sum not exceeding £22,635, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1903, for the Maintenance of Criminal Lunatics in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum."


said that they we entitled to complain that the Report of the Lunacy Board was not yet out. That placed Members in an awkward position in discussing this Vote. Without being furnished with the latest Reports how could they bring matters of complaint under the notice of the different Departments? A Department simply put down a Vote on the Notice Paper and the Home Secretary came to the House without his papers. The right hon. Gentleman might occasionally consult with an official under the gallery, but he ordinarily dealt with general platitudes. He affected to know all about it, when any matter was brought under his notice, although probably he had never heard anything of it until it had been stated in Committee. But when the Home Secretary was asked for details he had not a word to say. That was not a fair way of dealing with the estimates. This Question of Lunacy was one in which he took a great deal of interest in many ways, and he knew that from time to time in the Reports of the Lunacy Commissioners matters of the very greatest importance as to discipline and the conditions of the asylums had been brought to the notice of the Home Office. If there was any class of buildings or administration which required the attention of this House more than another it was these Institutions in which those who suffered from mental diseases were confined. Their object ought to be to see that the many recommendations regarding the defects in the Asylums and the improvement of the law for their management should be carried out. The Lord Chancellor had, year after year, brought in the Lunacy Bill which was intended to cure the great many defects which existed. The Bill had been for three years before the House, although he did not see it this years There were certain matters in previous Reports, and dealt with in the Lord Chancellor's Bill, which it would have been of considerable importance to discuss on the present occasion. For instance, the Employers' Liability Act did not apply to those in charge of patients in ordinary lunatic asylums, or in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, and nothing was done to give any compensation to attendants injured in attacks made upon them by patients. Various proposals had been put before the Government, with the view of improving the position of the attendants in these asylums. He would like to know what the Government intended to do in the matter, for those men had no Civil Service pension? He was surprised to see the Home Secretary laughing; the right hon. Gentleman was absolutely ignorant of the Bill brought in by the Lord Chancellor. The Attorney General might know of it.

It being midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report progress; to sit again upon Monday next.

House adjourned at five minutes after Twelve o'clock.