HC Deb 27 June 1906 vol 159 cc930-1
MR. MARNHAM (Surrey, Chertsey)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the recent murder at Camberley, and the propinquity of His Majesty's Broad-moor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, greater care will in future be taken to ascertain that prisoners before being discharged can, with safety to the general public, be allowed at large.


I can assure the hon. Member that there is no ground for the suggestion that there is any want of care in discharging criminal lunatics from Broadmoor. If a lunatic is confined "during His Majesty's pleasure"—so that he can be discharged only by the Secretary of State's order—the utmost care is taken (in the few cases where the question of release can be entertained at all) to ascertain that the patient's recovery is of a permanent character, and that he can be allowed at large without danger to the public. An undertaking is obtained from some trustworthy relative or other person to look after the patient and to report periodically how he is, and, if any sign of relapse is reported, the discharge is revoked and the patient brought back. There are, however, some criminal lunatics not detained during His Majesty's pleasure, but under sentence for a definite term only. These cannot, generally speaking, be detained in Broadmoor after the sentence expires; they have to be removed to local asylums and then come under the ordinary lunacy law, and I have no longer any control over their discharge, which rests with the local asylum authorities.