HC Deb 31 July 1941 vol 373 cc1522-3
23. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that prisoners are confined to their cells for as long as 18¼ hours per day; and whether he will take steps to alter these conditions?

Mr. H. Morrison

The hours for which prisoners are in their cells include the meal periods and the night period. The aggregate time is always long, but before the war every effort was made to shorten it by extending the working day and arranging for certain associated activities in the evening. With the depletion of staff resulting from war conditions it became impossible to maintain this policy, and in the local prisons the hours of association are now shorter than I should wish. In the convict prisons, where those prisoners who are serving long sentences are detained, the hours for which prisoners are allowed out of their cells are considerably longer than is suggested in the Question. Moreover, special arrangements have been made as regards young prisoners in local prisons, and I hope to improve these arrangements. But my hon. Friend will recognise that the special difficulties created by war conditions prevent the adoption of many measures which in other circumstances I should be anxious to take.

Mr. Davies

Will my right hon. Friend be good enough to look into the position at Leicester and consider whether it is possible to remove what are regarded by most sensible people as inhuman conditions?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir.