HC Deb 15 March 1917 vol 91 c1275
75. Mr. FERENS

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his Attention has been called to the fact that magistrates in the Metropolitan area are giving women convicted of solicitation sentences from three to six months' imprisonment with hard labour; will he state under what Act such sentences are given; and, if they are given under an Act of Edward III., will he state if the other provisions of that Act, which relate to those who resort to houses suspected to maintain adultery and incontinency, will also be put into operation, or has this Act been revived merely for the purpose of inflicting heavy sentences upon women?


I am informed by the Chief Magistrate that no such sentence has been passed on any woman convicted of solicitation. In some exceptional cases, as a protection against future disorderly conduct, a magistrate has required a disorderly prostitute to find sureties to keep the peace or for good behaviour, and such an order may be enforced by imprisonment but not with hard labour. The power of requiring sureties belongs to all justices, and is in constant use in other cases for the prevention of disorderly conduct.