HC Deb 11 November 1943 vol 393 cc1288-9
57. Miss Rathbone

asked the Home Secretary whether he will restore the facilities granted pre-war to voluntary agencies for educational work in prisons, seeing that in Holloway and some other prisons there is at present no provision for educational and humanising work other than the Sunday religious service and a supply of bibles and other miscellaneous books, while prisoners have opportunity in intercourse with other prisoners for instruction in immorality and petty crime?

Mr. H. Morrison

Owing to shortage of staff, particularly in women's prisons, and the difficulty of obtaining voluntary teachers in the evenings, it has been necessary to curtail the normal educational facilities, but it is not correct to say that no provision is made in prisons for educational and humanising work. With the assistance of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Information, lectures are given at all prisons and Governors are often able to provide other lectures and concerts from local resources. At some prisons educational classes are still held in the evenings, and facilities for correspondence courses have been provided at Holloway and elsewhere. There is a library in every prison and all possible steps are taken to encourage its use.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that experts on the subject are convinced that there is suitable personnel available for more education if governors of prisons were always more sympathetic?

Mr. Morrison

As the hon. Lady knows, I am very sympathetic to the object she has in mind, and certainly we will consider any offers of voluntary assistance that may be forthcoming, but there is also a prison staffing problem, because it involves staff considerations. I will do anything I can to be helpful in the direction wished.