HC Deb 27 January 1944 vol 396 cc841-2
24. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider implementing the Act of 1879 or introducing fresh legislation to provide for the establishment of probation officers for discharged prisoners, whether short time or ex-convicts, with the object of doing away with the ticket- of-leave system and the installation of whole-time welfare officers.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

The main purpose of the licensing system for persons discharged from penal servitude has been to enable the police to know where ex-convicts are living. The abolition of this system was one of the changes proposed in the Criminal Justice Bill of 1939, but this question is distinct from any question of welfare arrangements for ex-convicts or ex-prisoners. A number of whole-time officers are employed by the organisations which aid discharged convicts and prisoners, and their work is supplemented by much voluntary help from public spirited persons who undertake to befriend particular prisoners.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of people in responsible positions of authority who are best qualified to know favour the abolition of this ticket-of-leave system and the expansion of the number of welfare officers? It is not a question of my personal opinion, it is a question of the widespread feeling of those in authority.

Mr. Morrison

I appreciate that, and I do not say that I am entirely satisfied with the system, but it must wait until time is available to deal with the general question of criminal justice.