HC Deb 28 October 1943 vol 393 cc360-1
28. Mr. Ivor Thomas

asked the Home Secretary how many young people under 21 years of age are imprisoned in England and Wales; at what hour they are locked up on week-nights and how many hours they spend in their cells from noon on Saturday until Monday morning; and what provision is made for lectures or classes in each of the several prisons receiving these young people?

Mr. Morrison

Statistics are compiled annually as to the young persons under 21 sent to prison, and I am reluctant in present circumstances to add to the clerical work of the Department by calling for special returns showing the number in prison at the present time. The week-end arrangements for young prisoners are not the same at all establishments, and the treatment and training of these persons vary according to whether they are on remand or convicted and to the length of their sentence. Their character and standard of education are also taken into consideration. It would be difficult to deal with so large a subject by way of Parliamentary Question and answer, but if my hon. Friend would care to visit one of the prisons dealing with this class of offender I shall be very pleased to make the necessary arrangements.

Mr. Thomas

Will my right hon. Friend assure me that I shall be let out again if I do go?

Mr. Morrison

As long as the conduct of my hon. Friend is unexceptionable, he has nothing to fear.

Mr. Messer

Is there any hope of reintroducing the Bill which was dropped at the outbreak of war which would have made it impossible for anyone under 21 to go to prison?

Mr. Morrison

I should not think so. I am fairly well loaded with legislation of an exciting character at the moment.

Mrs. Hardie

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that many young people are sent to prison for no crime at all, only because they cannot get a bus to get them to work in time, and will he consider that position?

Mr. Morrison

That is another question.