HC Deb 17 July 1941 vol 373 cc721-2
25. Mr. Harvey

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the fact that boys are being detained in prison for periods of four or five months before transfer to a Borstal institution, to which they have been sentenced by the court, and that this long period in prison defeats the intention of the Borstal sentence; and whether, in view of the pressure on existing accommodation in Borstal institutions, he will take steps to establish additional accommodation?

Mr. H. Morrison

My hon. Friend is mistaken in suggesting that after youths have been committed for Borstal training they are kept waiting in prison as a general rule for as long as four or five months; but it is the case that the difficulty under war conditions of expanding the Borstal accommodation and of finding alternative accommodation in place of establishments damaged by enemy action has resulted in some regrettable delay in the transfer of youths to appropriate training establishments. Since the answer given to my hon. Friend on 10th April, arrangements have been made for still further accommodation to be available, and it is hoped that this will meet the need. I entirely agree with him on the importance of getting these youths into training institutions at the earliest possible moment, and every effort has been made, and will continue to be made, to overcome the difficulties caused by war conditions.

Mr. Harvey

Is the Minister aware that I did not suggest this was general, but that there are cases where boys are so long detained? Could he not make provision whereby they are detained either in a remand home or in a special prison for youngsters, rather than in a general prison?

Mr. Morrison

That is certainly my desire, and I will do my best in the matter.

Mr. Silverman

Where it is impossible to transfer these boys to an approved school or to a remand home, would it not be possible to release them on bail under the supervision of the probation officer until such time as they could be transferred to a Borstal institution?

Mr. Morrison

I very much doubt whether that would be desirable.