HC Deb 19 April 1905 vol 145 cc594-5
MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether in prisons of detention, or in local prisons, or in convict establishments, the rules, regulations, and notices affecting prisoners are explained, published, or exhibited to foreign prisoners in foreign languages or in any and in what languages besides the English language; and what arrangements are made so that prisoners who do not understand English shall understand them and the orders given to such prisoners; and whether prisoners are punished for disobedience to rules published only in a language they cannot translate or comprehend.


The prison rules and regulations are printed in French, German, and Italian in all prisons. In the case of a prisoner unacquainted with English, and speaking a language other than those named, it would be the duty of the Governor to take steps to make him acquainted with the regulations. I have no reason to believe that this rule is not strictly observed by all Governors. It is not the practice to punish prisoners for the breach of rules they do not understand. The hon. Member may have in mind the case of a prisoner of Greek nationality which has been recently mentioned in some newspapers. I have ascertained that this prisoner can speak and understand English, and has claimed to be English on the ground that he has lived for five years in England.