§ 32. Mr. THURTLE
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fact in the Report of His Majesty's Prison Commissioners for the year ending 31st March last that out of some 15,000 persons committed to prison for the non-payment of fines more than 12,000 were not allowed time to nay; and whether, in view of the fact that a fine is intended to be an alternative to imprisonment, he will cause instructions to be issued to magistrates that in all cases where persons are fined reasonable time should be given for the payment of the fine?
The Home Secretary cannot issue instructions to magistrates in a matter of this kind, but I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a circular which was sent to all benches from the Home Office in May, 1922, calling attention to the desirability of allowing time for the payment of fines in all proper cases. I do not think any further circular is called for at present. There are many cases in which, for various reasons, time cannot be allowed, and I would point out that the figure of 12,000 persons who were not allowed time and went to prison compares with 400,000 persons who were fined and paid their fines.