HC Deb 30 January 1941 vol 368 cc674-5
59. Mr. Harvey

asked the Home Secretary whether any steps are being taken to deal with the serious shortage of remand homes; and whether, as this involves the detention of young offenders in prison, local authorities can be urged to make temporary provision to deal with the situation pending the establishment of further permanent remand homes?

Mr. H. Morrison

I have been in communication with local authorities who, under the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, are responsible for the provision of Remand Homes. Several new Homes have recently been provided and others have been enlarged, but I regret that there is still inadequate accommodation in some areas. I understand that some local authorities have experienced difficulty in finding suitable premises under existing conditions. I can assure my hon. Friend that the subject is receiving close attention. As regards detention in prisons, the law provides that a person under 17 years of age shall only be committed to prison if the Court certifies that he is so unruly or depraved that he cannot be detained in a Remand Home; and shortage of accommodation in such Homes does not justify magistrates in disregarding or straining this statutory limitation.

Mr. Thorne

Will my right hon. Friend give serious consideration to this problem? In West Ham there have been great difficulties in regard to the matter.

Mr. Morrison

I will, Sir, but I think the obligation is on the West Ham town council to provide remand homes.