HC Deb 08 July 1948 vol 453 cc581-2
67. Mr. W. J. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of overcrowding, bad sanitary conditions, and the lack of domestic utensils, at present obtaining in His Majesty's Prisons; whether, as a matter of urgency, he will order at once the further erection of hutted accommodation in prison grounds to house first offenders and the aged prisoners; and whether he will review the accommodation position in some of the Borstal Institutions and Brixton Prison in order to ease the dangerous position which has arisen in the prisons.

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

I am well aware that the prisons are at present overcrowded. No substantial extension of the hutted accommodation within the existing prisons is practicable, and no accommodation can be spared from Brixton Prison or the Borstal Institutions, but an additional prison will be opened in August and negotiations are in progress to acquire premises for five others. Increased sanitary facilities have been provided at the prisons where necessary. There is no evidence that existing conditions are having an adverse effect on the health of the prisoners.

Mr. Benson

Will the Home Secretary press forward with the opening of prison camps based administratively on existing prisons, with the idea of reducing the present appalling congestion in prisons?

Mr. Ede

I am considering all practicable means of dealing with this situation, but, of course, it is not always possible to find a suitable site for a camp near an existing prison. Where it is possible, and there is a need for a more open type of prison, I should favourably consider the suggestion.

Mr. McGovern

Can the Home Secretary assure the House that the conditions inside these prisons are not adversely affecting the recruitment of prisoners?