HC Deb 03 November 1908 vol 195 cc981-2
MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the three lady suffragettes, Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Pankhurst, and Miss Pankhurst, were, previous to their imprisonment, compelled to undergo the indignity of being stripped and searched by prison wardresses; and, if so, can he state if he is prepared to take steps with a view to the prevention of such indignities in the future.


All prisoners, of whatever class, have, under the rules sanctioned by Parliament, to be searched on admission to prison. These rules it is necessary to maintain. Female prisoners are not stripped, but have to change to prison clothes in the presence of two female warders, by whom they are searched. The Prison Commissioners will see that as much privacy is allowed as is consistent with the necessity for efficient search. In regard to the three ladies mentioned, as my right hon. friend said last Wednesday, the usual practice was modified by the Governor, who allowed them to change their clothes in a locked cell.