§ MR. MCKILLOP
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is usual for the Prisons Board, in regard to charges against warders, to receive secret Reports from the governors of prisons in such cases; if not, is he aware of any cases in which such has been done; whether the Prisons Board ever consider or base their decision on such Reports, without disclosing the nature of the same to the warder concerned; and whether any such secret Reports have been received from the Governor of Belfast prison during the past twelve months; and, if so, will such he laid upon the Table of the House.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) The General Prisons Board inform me that they continuously receive from prison governors, including the Governor of Belfast Prison, confidential reports upon matters affecting prison administration and discipline. Warders are afforded full opportunity of meeting any charges which may be brought against them. The evidence in support of the charges is taken in their presence, and they may cross-examine the witnesses and bring up witnesses in their own defence. The General Prison Board do not, in any such case, base their decision on confidential reports, but on the admitted or proved facts of the case. It would be quite contrary to the established practice, and not in the interests of the public service, to lay upon the Table confidential reports received by the Prisons Board from their officers.