HC Deb 04 February 1932 vol 261 cc235-7
23. Colonel GRETTON

asked the Home Secretary what was the reason for his recent visit to Dartmoor prison; and what he found to be the state of the prison at the time of his visit


As I happened to be spending the Christmas Recess a few miles from Dartmoor, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the prison. The reason for my visit was a natural, and I hope a proper desire to acquaint myself at first hand with one of the principal institutions for which the Home Secretary is responsible, and the visit was in accordance with a practice I have long pursued. There was at that time nothing to indicate the likelihood of such events as have since occurred. I would take this opportunity of stating that the report of Mr. du Parcq, who was commissioned to inquire into the whole of the circumstances connected with the recent disorder, was received yesterday. It is being sent to the printers to-day and will be issued to Members as a Command Paper and published as soon as copies are available.


In view of the fact that very serious disturbances occurred after the visit of the Home Secretary, would it not be as well to defer any other visits, in the interests of discipline?

24. Captain DOWER

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the help given by certain convicts, and one George Donovan in particular, in protecting the lives of the governor and warders during the mutiny at Dartmoor prison on 24th January last, the question of the remission of their sentences has been considered?


The question what action shall be taken as regards prisoners who rendered special help to the authorities will be carefully considered without any delay, but until all the cases have been reviewed in the light of all the information obtainable, it would be premature for me to make any statement.

Captain DOWER

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the very unfortunate position that the loyal convicts are now in at Dartmoor, because they are to all intents and purposes marked men?


That has been borne in mind, I have no doubt, by the authorities of the prison.


Have all the troubles arisen at Dartmoor prison and the conditions become so bad since the Home Secretary's visit at Christmas? Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in regard to many of the cells it has been known for years that they were continually streaming with water and in an unhealthy condition?


That matter does not arise out of the question.