38. Mr. POINTER
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Louisa Hunt, of Knottingley, who was sentenced at Pontefract on the 25th of May last to three months' hard labour for the crime of sleeping out; and whether he will investigate the case with a view to remitting the sentence if possible?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I have inquired into the circumstances of the case, and I regret that I cannot advise any remission. Though not certifiably insane, the prisoner is weak-minded and entirely wanting in moral sense and self-control, and though still under the age of nineteen has been repeatedly convicted. It is most desirable in her own interest and in that of the community that she should be placed under control. I hope that when the Feeble-Minded Bill passes it will be possible to deal with this case more adequately than can be done under the powers now existing.
Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that three months' hard labour is the proper treatment for a weak-minded person?
§ Mr. McKENNA
No, Sir; it is a very difficult problem, for which at present there is no adequate law. I hope, however, in the course of the present Session that we shall be able to deal with persons of the kind more satisfactorily.
Would it be possible for imprisonment, if it is necessary, to be continued without the hard labour?