HC Deb 28 October 1908 vol 195 c254

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the ladies now undergoing terms of imprisonment for offences arising out of the suffragist agitation have been compelled to divest themselves of all their clothing in the presence of one wardress, and in some cases of several wardresses, and to put on a single cotton garment reaching to the knees, and in this garment barefooted to cross a room to a desk and stand there while the wardress searches them and enters particulars in a book; and, if so, whether, regard being had to the fact that no imputation has been made on the motives of these ladies, and that their conduct admittedly attaches to them no moral stigma, why has there not been a remission in their cases of this condition of their imprisonment, which is imposed in the cases of ordinary prisoners for sanitary reasons.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) In the case of the three ladies committed last Saturday the usual pactice was modified by the Governor, who allowed them to change their clothing in a locked reception cell, no officer being present. I will consider whether the method of searching can be altered in the case of other female prisoners of the second division.