HC Deb 07 March 1940 vol 358 cc560-1
51 and 52. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Home Secretary (1)how many male prisoners have, owing to the emergency, been set free before completing their sentences.

(2) why 1,600 out of 2,500 Borstal lads, many of whom had received little training, were set free some months ago; and whether this policy is to continue during the emergency?

Sir J. Anderson

As the answer is long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Immediately before the outbreak of war it was decided to evacuate certain prisons and Borstal institutions in districts which were regarded as being liable to attack from the air, and to re-distribute their inmates among other prisons and Borstal institutions. As the available accommodation was not sufficient to take all the persons displaced, it was necessary to authorise the release of a proportion of the population of the prisons and Borstal institutions, and it was decided to release those prisoners who had less than three months of their sentences to serve, and those Borstal inmates who had undergone not less than six months' training. The number of prisoners released was 3,617. Of the Borstal inmates released, many had served for considerably longer than six months, and some would have been due for discharge in the ordinary course within a few days or weeks. These discharges were authorised purely as an emergency measure, and there is no intention of applying a similar policy to persons who are at present or may be in the future undergoing sentences of Borstal detention. The date of release on licence in such cases will be determined, as hitherto, in the light of the progress made by the individual in his training in the institution.