§ 71. Mr. ROBERT HARCOURT
asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the considerations which influenced him in granting a fresh licence to John Clare, a convict on ticket-of-leave, who pleaded guilty to stealing a gold watch; whether he had 36 official information to the effect that Clare had made a genuine attempt to earn an honest living as a bootmaker, but was driven from his employment because his shopmates refused to work with him; and, if so, whether such a situation frequently occurs; and whether he will consider the advisability of instituting some form of inquiry as to the employment of discharged prisoners?
§ Mr. McKENNA
My attention was called to this case by the Deputy-Chairman of Quarter Sessions, who informed me that the prisoner had pleaded guilty to larceny, that in his opinion he had worked hard during the interval between his release and reconviction, that his relapse into crime was due to sudden temptation, and that he proposed to deal with the case under the Probation Act if the prisoner could be granted a fresh licence. I felt it right to comply with the Deputy-Chairman's recommendation and granted prisoner a new licence. My information shows that the licence-holder's relapse into crime was not due to the cause stated in the question, but to an entirely different one. The Central Association for the Aid of Discharged Convicts inform me that they know of few instances of a licence-holder being driven from his employment by his shopmates refusing to work with him. The employment of the ex-convicts under their care is carefully watched by the association; and if any such case occurred, they would endeavour to find fresh employment for the man. I do not think there is any ground for any special inquiry.