HC Deb 04 November 1908 vol 195 cc1210-1

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what industries are taught in His Majesty's prisons to women; whether he will consider the possibility of revising the system, with a view to enabling them to find remunerative work on their discharge; and whether he has considered the advisability of appointing a woman to the Board of Prison Commissioners to help in reorganising prison industries for women on more educative and reformative lines.


My right, hon. friend will furnish the hon. Member with a list of the industries. The shortness of sentences prevents in most cases any system of organised instruction of such a nature as would create a wage-earning capacity on discharge, even were it possible to find employment. Thirty-nine per cent. of women last year were in prison for a week or less; 65 per cent. two weeks or less; and 95 per cent. three months or less; but in individual cases, where length of sentence admits, every effort is made to impart useful instruction, and improvements are continually being made. The Commissioners have now ample opportunities of obtaining the opinion of women as to the most suitable industries. Lady visitors are invited to offer suggestions. Useful suggestions are also frequently received from matrons of prisons; and a lady inspector of prisons has lately been appointed, whose duty it is, among other things, to advise the Commissioners on this matter.