HC Deb 24 February 1938 vol 332 cc525-6
32. Mr. T. Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any facilities are available whereby judges and magistrates may make themselves familiar with the methods of prison treatment given to convicted persons; and, if so, how many judges or magistrates have made use of these facilities during the past five years?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

Yes, Sir. Facilities to visit prisons and Borstal institutions are always given to judges and magistrates who have the responsibility of sentencing offenders. I am informed that in the last five years visits are recorded by 1,6oo magistrates, 27 recorders and chairmen of quarter sessions and 12 judges of the High Court.

Mr. Johnston

Are magistrates always so informed that they have these facilities?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot say that off-hand, but perhaps this question and answer will make that quite clear.

Mr. Johnston

If that is not so, would the Home Office undertake that some communication should be made to magistrates that they have these facilities?

Mr. Lloyd

I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider that point, but I can say now that the Home Office welcome these visits by officers who have responsibility in this matter.

Mr. Cassells

Can the hon. Gentleman say how many of these visits are unexpected?

Mr. Lloyd

I do riot know.

Mr. Thorne

Are these facilities open to Members of Parliament like myself, and will those who visit the prisons be given a similar meal to that which is given to the prisoners?

Mr. Lloyd

I am certain that if the hon. Member wishes to visit a prison we will provide every facility, but I cannot say whether he will get a free meal.