HC Deb 11 May 1908 vol 188 cc728-9

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the weight of the cat-o'-nine-tails used in the infliction of the punishment of the lash on prisoners sentenced to be flogged, and whether each stroke of the cat-o'-nine-tails inflicts at least nine stripes on the person flogged; by whom are the floggings ordered by Judges inflicted, and whether the persons on whom this office devolves get additional remuneration for its discharge; if so, what is the scale of the pay thus earned; are the sentences of floggings carried out in their entirety at once, or are the floggings administered by instalments at intervals; what time elapses between the pronouncement of a sentence of flogging and its infliction; whether persons on whom floggings are inflicted are immediately after the administration of the flogging conveyed to hospital; and what period of time on the average elapses from the infliction of the flogging to the convalescence of the prisoner.


The weight of the cat is 9 ounces, of which the handle weighs 6¾ ounces and the tails 2¼. Nine stripes would be inflicted if each of the nine tails struck separately. The sentences are carried out by prison officers, who receive 2s. 6d. extra remuneration on each occasion. They are carried out in their entirety, and not by instalments, as soon as possible after the expiration of the time within which notice of an appeal or of an application for leave to appeal may be given under the Criminal Appeal Act of 1907. A prisoner who has been flogged is not conveyed to hospital unless there is some special reason for so doing, which is very rarely the case, but is kept in the separate cell until the medical officer thinks him fit to resume work, a period which varies from half a day, to three days.