HC Deb 04 April 1917 vol 92 c1291
55. Sir W. BYLES

asked the Prime Minister whether the Irish prisoners now in Lewes Gaol convicted at courts-martial of participating in the Easter rising will have their status changed from the present one, which is neither that of convicts or ordinary criminals, to that of definite prisoners of war under the well-recognised rules of military discipline?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. These men have been sentenced to penal servitude by court-martial, and the law requires them to be "dealt with in like manner as an ordinary civil prisoner under sentence of penal servitude." Certain privileges have been allowed them within the discretion left to the prison authorities under the statutory rules for convict prisons, but I have no power to alter their status or to treat them as prisoners of war.