HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 cc916-7
20. Captain Plugge

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many boys absconded from Borstal in 1942, 1943 and 1944 to date, respectively; and how many were not recaptured.

Mr. H. Morrison

The figures as to absconding from the Rochester Borstal Institution for which my hon. and gallant Friend asks in the first part of his Question are as follows: 102 in 1942, 103 in 1943, and 31 in the present year to date: during this period the number of inmates has been increased, and the proportion of escapes in relation to the population of the Institution has been steadily decreasing. All but three of the absconders have been recaptured. Of these one absconded in February of this year and two absconded last week.

Captain Plugge

While I appreciate the effort made by my right hon. Friend as shown by the figures which he has given me, may I please ask him to continue his vigilance, as these grown-up lads, when they escape, cause great in- convenience, harm and fear to my constituents living in the neighbourhood of the institution?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, I will certainly do my best in the matter.

Mr. Thorn

When the boys are recaptured, are they punished in any way?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir.

Mr. G. Strauss

Will the Home Secretary bear in mind the undesirability of turning the Borstal institution into a prison with such security arrangements and that it would make it very bad indeed for the general purposes for which the Borstal institution is used?

Mr. Morrison

Certainly, I should be most reluctant to do that, but I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend has suggested that it should be.

Sir H. Williams

As these boys are more intelligent than their guards, cannot we make more use of their ability?