HC Deb 11 April 1946 vol 421 cc2076-7
31. Mrs. F. Paton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the case of two girls of 14 years of age sentenced at York to three months imprisonment; and whether, to prevent these girls being sent to an ordinary prison and in view of the frequency of such cases, he will take steps immediately to provide a special place of security outside the prison system with a staff specially qualified to deal with such cases.

Mr. Ede

I have received information about these girls, who recently escaped from an approved school, and I have decided to recommend the remission of the unexpired portion of their prison sentences and to transfer each of them to another approved school for further training. As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the general statement contained in the reply which I gave to her on 21st March.

Mrs. Paton

Would the Minister consider providing finance to enable some outside specialist body like the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency to set up institutions, one for boys and one for girls?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I have no power to make such a payment. That again is a matter that would, I think, have been dealt with more satisfactorily had the Criminal Justice Bill become law in 1938 or 1939. I hope that the House will not insist on a number of small Measures that would fritter away the time that might be far more usefully employed on a comprehensive Measure when Parliamentary time permits.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Would the Minister say when he is going to introduce this comprehensive Measure? It has been asked for from all sides of the House.

Mr. Ede

This Parliament is young and I have had my share of legislative time this Session, but I am not unhopeful that before this Parliament ends the Measure will be on the Statute Book.

Mr. Gallacher

Does the Minister realise that there is need for a very rapid overhaul of the whole prison system, and will he hurry forward the legislation?