HC Deb 18 April 1946 vol 421 cc2867-8
8. Mr. Hector Huģhes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take steps, with the aid of psychiatrists, scientifically to distinguish between the type of criminal offender who is likely to benefit by curative and reformative treatment and training and the type of criminal offender who is unlikely so to benefit; and will he emphasise discriminatory treatment between the two.

Mr. Ede

While I should be reluctant to accept any suggestion that certain types of offenders should be entirely excluded from reformative methods of treatment, the importance is fully recognised of developing scientific methods of classifying prisoners with a view to giving them the types of training best suited to their needs and capacities. The value of these methods has already been proved in the case of youths committed for Borstal training, and the plans for the future development of the prison system include the use of similar methods for the classification of prisoners whose sentences are long enough to make special courses of training possible.

Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will carry that principle also into approved schools where, in many cases at present, there is a tendency to lump together those who would benefit more by being segregated from the others, and to reduce the common denominator to the lowest level?

Mr. Ede

The principle of classification is already applied in approved schools. It cannot be applied as much as I would like at the moment owing to the large population that we have to deal with there, but as more schools become available or, as I hope also, the school population in these places falls, we shall endeavour to extend classification.

Mr. Huģhes

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the principle which he has enunciated, for which I thank him, applies to juvenile delinquents as well as to adults?

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir, I think the answer to the previous supplementary indicates that.

Dr. Morģan

Would the Minister ask the General Medical Council to encourage the tuition of psychiatrists for this purpose?

Mr. Ede

I have no direct relationship with the General Medical Council myself, but I hope the scientific study of psychology will be undertaken by universities and other persons responsible for general education.