HC Deb 25 April 1907 vol 173 cc236-40
MR. WEDGWOOD (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Return of youthful offenders sentenced during the last three months of 1906, whether he will state, in the case of each of the following boroughcourts, how the children who were convicted and sentenced to a fine or imprisonment, and whose numbers in each borough are given below after the name of each borough, were subsequently dealt with, that is to say, how many paid the fine, how many did not pay but were released without being imprisoned after sentence, and how many were actually imprisoned through default of paying the fines or costs: Metropolitan Police Courts, 226; Liverpool, 160;Newcastle-on-Tyne, 138; Sunder-land. 115; Bristol, 115: Birkenhead, 104; Sheffield, 91;South Shields, 85; Tyne-mouth, 73; Gateshead, 64; Nottingham, 54; Birmingham, 46; St. Helens, 46; Middlesbrough, 45; Warrington, 42; West Hartlepool, 38; Leeds, 37; Rotherham, 33;Cardiff, 33; Potteries, Stipendiary Court, 31; Newcastle-under-Lyme, 27; Longton, 26; and whether he will inquire of the borough courts of Manchester, 12; Bradford, 0; West Ham, 3; Hull, 9; Salford, 24; Leicester, 17;and

1.Police Court. Number sentenced to fine or imprisonment. Disposal of persons fined.
2 3. 4. 5. 6. 7 8.
Total. Imprisonment without option of fine. To pay fines with or without costs. Fines paid. Imprisonment at once in default of payment. Allowed time to pay, but ultimately imprisoned. Other cases, including those outstanding.
Metropolitan Police Courts 227 3 224 178 46
Liverpool City 160 2 158 137 21
Newcastle - upon-Tyne City 138 138 99 14 16 9
Sunderland Borough 115 115 114 1
Bristol City 115 115 108 7
Birkenhead Borough 59 59 53 6
Sheffield City 91 91 86 1 4
South Shields Borough 85 85 80 3 2
Tynemouth Borough 73 73 69 1 3
Gateshead Borough 64 64 49 15
Nottingham City 49 1 48 Not known
Birmingham City 46 1 45 45
St. Helens Borough 46 46 46
Middlesbrough Borough 45 45 38 7
Warrington Borough 42 1 41 41

Bolton, 0, what special measures they have adopted to reduce the number of children convicted and fined so far below that of other towns.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) The figures I have obtained in answer to the hon. Member's Question are as follows—

1.Police Court. Number sentenced to tine or imprisonment Disposal of persons fined.
2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Total. Imprisonment with out option of fine To pay fines with or without costs. Fines paid. Imprisonment at once in default of payment. Allowed time to pay, but ultimately imprisoned. Other cases, including those outstanding.
West Hartlepool Borough 37 37 35 2
Leeds City 37 2 35 32 3
Rotherham Borough 33 33 30 3
Cardiff City 32 3 29 15 3 11
Staffordshire Potteries Stipendiary District 31 31 25 4 1
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough 25 25 15 10
Longton Borough 1 1
Total 1,551 14 1,537 1,296 64 36 93
†In this instance the original return was incorrect, 25 of the 26 cases given in column 6 being dismissed on payment of costs.

Great care must, however, be used in drawing any inferences from these figures. Those relating to imprisonment include cases where defendants are sentenced to imprisonment for one day and are kept in police cells only till the court rises, a practice which is, I believe, very common, especially at the Metropolitan police courts. Again, at some of the courts mentioned above, the number of children sentenced bears a much lower proportion to the total population served by the courts than is the case at some of the courts mentioned in the latter part of the Question. At one court (Leeds), I am told, the only juvenile sent to prison had been three times before the court within the previous six months. At another (Sunderland), the only one sent to prison had previously been seven times before the court and has subsequently been sent to a reformatory school. At a third (Newcastle), all those sent to prison had been previously convicted several times. It would be impossible to give reasons why the number of juveniles convicted at some courts is so much lower than at others. This would depend, not only on the population and character of the district served by the court, but also on the action of the police in bringing juveniles before it, and on the views of the individual magistrates forming the court with regard to the best means of dealing with such cases.