HC Deb 22 July 1907 vol 178 cc1170-1
MR. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottenham)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are any statistics to show the number of prisoners placed under observation because of their mental condition; what is the policy of the Department towards the number who may be classified as irresponsibles; and whether he would be willing to grant a Return of such prisoners in all our chief prisons.


Both in local and in convict prisons those prisoners who are not certifiably insane but are unfit through mental deficiency for the ordinary penal discipline form a separate class and are specially treated. In the year 1906–7 the numbers were, in local prisons 355, in convict prisons 107. The policy of the Prison Commissioners is to place these prisoners under the special charge of the medical officers of the prisons and to keep them continuously under the personal care of selected warders. The medical officers regulate their discipline and diet, and allow them such employment as is suited to the condition of each individual. In addition to those so classified there are other prisoners, the number of whom I cannot give, who are temporarily under observation to ascertain their mental state, particularly prisoners who have been remanded by the magistrates in order to obtain reports from the medical officers on their mental condition before dealing with them.