HC Deb 15 February 1937 vol 320 cc844-5
62. Mr. Hall-Caine

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the present conditions affecting solitary confinement in Maidstone gaol and that men undergoing solitary confinement are often numbed with cold owing to the low temperature of the cells, the starvation diet, and the lack of exercise; and whether he will either cause an investigation to be made into the matter or issue a statement setting out the precise position?

Mr. Lloyd

The treatment of prisoners who commit offences against prison discipline is a difficult problem, to which much attention has been given. The measures to be taken are prescribed by the Prison Rules, which were revised as lately as 1933. One of the authorised forms of punishment is confinement to a cell for limited periods laid down by the Rules; another is dietary punishment, the form of which is most carefully defined by the Rules and is subject to medical supervision. The cells used for punishment purposes are fully lighted and adequately heated. Arrangements are made for every prisoner undergoing punishment to be taken out for regular exercise. The prison is regularly inspected by members of the Board of Visitors, who are an entirely independent body, and my right hon. Friend is satisfied that it is properly conducted. The article on which the hon. Member's question is based was written by an ex-prisoner who, not having been under punishment during his sentence, has no first-hand knowledge of the conditions which he purports to describe; but if the hon. Member wishes, the Home Secretary will be happy to give him permission to visit the prison at any time without notice and see the conditions for himself.

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