HC Deb 13 March 1924 vol 170 cc2529-30

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that there are in Wormwood Scrubs Prison over 15 inmates, in Wandsworth Prison over 30 inmates, and in Pentonville Prison over 20 inmates, all confined in observation cells, but in charge of the ordinary disciplinary officer; that at night that officer has duty which requires him to parade many miles through corridors and landings; and that, in the case of Pentonville Prison, that distance is approximately 20 miles to cover during one watch; and whether in future it will be arranged to collect these inmates of observation cells and have them confined in charge of a medical prison orderly instead of in charge of a disciplinary officer?


I gave the hon. Member a full reply as regards Pentonville last Thursday, when I explained why it is not practicable at present to take the step suggested in the last part of the question. There are at Wormwood Scrubs 16 prisoners and at Wandsworth 17 prisoners in observation cells in charge of discipline officers. According to my information, the length of patrol at night in these prisons is very much less than 20 miles—possibly less than five miles.


Cannot the right hon. Gentleman collect these observation cases in one prison and have them under the charge of one medical orderly? There are more than 50 cases of the kind.


I will take that suggestion into consideration.


Will my right hon. Friend seek the advice of those who are engaged on the duty in order that he may arrive at an adequate expression of opinion by those engaged in the work?

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