§ 49. Mr. FREEMAN
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the total number of persons who were placed in close confinement during the 12 months ended 31st December, 1930; the number of such persons confined for three days and under, four to 13 days, 14 to 20 days, 21 to 27 days, and 28 days or over, if any; the main causes for such treatment; whether he is satisfied with the necessity for dealing with them in this way; and whether he has any evidence that this form of treatment has the effect of curing the delinquents of their undesirable tendencies?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Short)
The information for which my hon. Friend asks is not available, but in each annual report of the Prison Commissioners there is a return of the number of punishments imposed at each 439 prison and of the number and kind of offences; and this return shows the number of cases of close confinement. The number of prisoners who have to be punished for prison offences is comparatively small—about 4 per cent. of the total; but some methods of enforcing prison discipline are necessary and it is not practicable to dispense with the method of close confinement. For example, if a man refuses to work or disturbs a workshop by disorderly behaviour, he cannot be left in an associated working party and must be confined in his cell for a time.
§ Mr. FREEMAN
Is it not a fact that prisoners in convict prisons have to pass the first month of their confinement, and every additional punishment for breaches of prison discipline, in solitary confinement and are not allowed to speak to any other prisoner?
§ Mr. FREEMAN
Will my hon. Friend make inquiries to ascertain whether it is not the fact. Is this not the only country which adopts this system of solitary confinement?