§ 25 and 26. Sir WILFRID SUGDEN (for Mr. LEES-JONES)
asked the Home Secretary (1) whether he is aware that the recommendations in the Report of the departmental committee on Employment of Prisoners, Part 2, Cmd. 4897, are likely to meet with determined opposition from the various prisoners' aid societies throughout the country, who, as voluntary charitable organisations, regard it as a vital principle of their work that they should remain free from the official atmosphere and control of our prison administration; and if he can state whether he proposes to accept the recommendations of that committee;
(2) whether, in view of the fact that aid societies are preparing alternative proposals, he will defer the setting up of the proposed national council referred to in 563 paragraph 43 of the Report of the departmental committee on Employment of Prisoners until he is satisfied that the alternative proposals are not likely to achieve the objects desired, or until he is informed that the majority of the aid societies concerned are willing to abandon their voluntary principles and be brought under such measure of State control as is recommended in the Report of the departmental committee?
§ Sir J. SIMON
The committee's report is under consideration. I may point out that the Report emphasises the importance of preserving the voluntary principle to the fullest possible extent, and that there is nothing in it to suggest that the activities of the Aid Societies are to be brought under official control. On the contrary the committee recommends that the Government grant now administered by the Prison Commissioners should in future be administered by a national council representative of the Societies themselves. I have no knowledge of any alternative proposals which are being formulated by the Societies, but I need hardly say that any representations which they may make will receive most careful consideration.