HC Deb 15 April 1948 vol 449 cc1273-4
Mr. Benson

I beg to move, in page 43, line 41, to leave out: at not less than twelve months. The purpose of this Amendment is to extend the operation of this Clause to all sentences in prison imposed upon persons under the age of 21. I move it because of the extraordinary contrast between the effect of imprisonment and effect of Borstal on adolescents. If we take comparisons of those with previous sentences, we find that, of those who go to prison, between six and seven out of 10 return to prison; whereas only three or four out of 10 go back to Borstal or do not make good. One of the effective methods of dealing with the Borstal boy is aftercare. It seems to me essential, with the disastrous record that imprisonment of adolescents can bring, that aftercare should also be part of a prison sentence. With this Amendment to Clause 47, and the consequential Amendments to the Sixth Schedule, I propose that every sentence of imprisonment on those under 21 shall carry with it a period of six months' aftercare. The effect of this would be to bring in about nine or 10 times as many youngsters who are sentenced to imprisonment than would be the case under the Clause as drafted. I commend this Amendment to the House and to the Home Secretary.

Mr. Paget (Northampton)

I beg to second the Amendment.

Mr. Ede

I have had the opportunity of discussing this point with my hon. Friend and of considering this Amendment and those Amendments to the Sixth Schedule which tie up with it. I have come to the conclusion that the case for this reform has been made out. I think that it enables us to deal satisfactorily with a point which gave us some anxiety during the Committee stage. My hon. Friend was then honest enough to say on one occasion that, while he recognised the problem, he could not suggest a remedy for it. He has since devoted a very great deal of time and attention to this question and I want to thank him for the care he has given to it and to recommend the House to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.