HC Deb 26 March 1925 vol 182 c607

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Commissioners of Prisons, from which it appears that 2,886 women who were convicted during the year had all been convicted more than 20 times, that the figures include a number of old women who could make nothing out of life, and who whilst in prison are harmless, well-conducted, and quiet members of the community, but immediately on their discharge give way to drink, or commit petty thefts, or sleep out, or act as hawkers without a licence; and whether, in view of the fact that a number of them are feeble-minded or mentally deficient, investigation can be made as to whether some other method of dealing with such cases can be devised rather than continuing the costly system of committing them to prison?


I am aware of the contents of the Report. Prisoners who come within the Mental Deficiency Act are dealt with accordingly. As regards the others, the only alternative to the present practice would be to provide by law for some form of prolonged detention, and any such provision would not only involve great expense but might prove highly controversial.