HC Deb 02 March 1944 vol 397 cc1561-2
29. Mr. W. J. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has considered the attack upon the administration of English prisons published in "World Review," a copy of which has been sent to him; and what steps he proposes to take by action in the courts or otherwise to vindicate the character of the warders and other officers of His Majesty's prisons.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am satisfied that the article in question is a malicious and deliberately untruthful attack on the prison administration in general and on the prison officers in particular. From internal evidence, it would appear that the article was written by a man who has had 10 convictions, including five for obtaining money or goods by false pretences. The editor of the "World Review" tells me that, in printing the article, he had no intention of associating himself with the views of his contributor, and that he regrets the appearance of any mis-statement reflecting upon the prison officers or the prison administration. In the circumstances, I do not think that any further action on my part is called for.

Mr. Brown

Will the Home Secretary consider the possibility of increasing the number of these convictions to 11?

Mr. Edmund Harvey

Will the Minister see that the editor of this review publishes in a forthcoming issue a disclaimer of the allegation?

Mr. Morrison

I will do my best; but I must say that the editor, in consultations that my officers had with him, has been very reasonable and sensible about it. I will do what I can on that point.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Is it not a fact that the character of the warders and other officers of our prisons is of the highest integrity, and that they carry out a most difficult task most efficiently?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, with very few exceptions, that is true.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Will the Minister agree that, although the character of the officers is beyond question, they often have to impose Regulations which need looking into?

Mr. Morrison

As the Regulations are mine, I must presume they are all right, though they may be capable of improvement.