HC Deb 12 February 1931 vol 248 cc570-3
49. Mr. LANG

asked the Home Secretary what county police authorities have not yet established remand homes, other than places within the precincts of prisons and places of detention, for children and young persons; and to which prisons and places of detention have children and young persons been committed under remand in the last three years?


My hon. Friend appears to be under a misapprehension. The Children Act 1908 requires that children and young persons under 16 shall be remanded not to prison but to places of detention provided under the Act, unless the Court certifies that in a particular case the child or young person is of so unruly a character that he cannot be safely so committed or that he is of so depraved a character that he is not a fit person to be so detained. The places of detention so provided are used almost entirely for remand purposes and only rarely for purposes of detention. In the last three years 71 children and young persons have been remanded to prison (56 under certificates of unruliness, 13 owing to over-statement of age and in two cases for purposes of special medical examination). I can send my hon. Friend, if he wishes, a list of the existing places of detention.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what he does with unruly back benchers?

55. Viscountess ASTOR

asked the Home Secretary what period is normally required for the effective examination and classification of boys committed to Borstal at the boys' prison, Wormwood Scrubs; and whether any and, if so, how many boys have been detained at Wormwood Scrubs for a period in excess of this during the last 12 months owing to lack of accommodation in the Borstal institutions?


asked the Home Secretary how many boys awaiting assignment to Borstal institutions have spent more than five months, four months, three months, and two months, respectively, in His Majesty's prison, Wormwood Scrubs?


The period normally required for investigation and examination in the case of a youth at Wormwood Scrubs awaiting allocation to a Borstal institution is from a month to six weeks. During the last year, however, the growing pressure on accommodation at the institutions has unavoidably led to a, proportion of the youths being detained longer. Of 740 youths dealt with during 1930, 62 were sent to Borstal institutions within one month, 345 within two months, 270 within three months, 54 within four months, and eight within five months. Only one boy was kept more than five months, but that was for medical reasons.

Viscountess ASTOR

Seeing that there is a shortage of accommodation for these boys, is the right hon. Gentleman going to do nothing about it?


Steps are being taken to erect another hostel, which will diminish any grievance that there is.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that magistrates in sentencing these youthful offenders do so on the understanding that they will not be sent to prison but to a Borstal or some educational reforming institution; and is he satisfied that everything is being done to rectify this somewhat undesirable state of affairs?


This is only a temporary accommodation, and I do not think it can be correctly described as a prison. It is a place of detention where they are kept until it is possible to send them to a Borstal institution.


Are we to understand that the right hon. Gentleman is going to build an entirely new Borstal institution, or merely adapting existing buildings?


I should like to have notice of that question.

62. Mr. LANG

asked the Home Secretary the number of persons of each sex under the age of 18 who were in prisons and homes of detention, respectively, on 1st July and 1st October, 1930, and 1st January last?


The precise information asked for by my hon. Friend is not available and to collect it specially would involve considerable trouble and expense. If he will be good enough to communicate with me I shall be happy to show him whatever information has already been collected and of a character which may meet the object he has in view.