HC Deb 11 March 1948 vol 448 cc1420-1
73. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the arrangements for giving education to persons serving sentences in His Majesty's prisons; by whom is such education given; what are the subjects taught; and in view of the fact that the pupils are in prison on account of crimes committed by them, whether character training forms part of the curriculum.

Mr. Ede

At some prisons, including most of those used as training centres and centres for young prisoners, the local education authority arranges classes and supplies the teachers, and in others, despite the handicaps of overcrowding and under-staffing, classes are taken by voluntary teachers and members of the prison staff. The curriculum varies from prison to prison, and covers a variety of subjects. In addition, over 400 prisoners take correspondence courses. The educational curriculum forms part of the general training system of which character training is one of the primary aims.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Should not training invariably be compulsory in education given in prison, in view of the fact that reformation is one of the objects of sending people to prison?

Mr. Ede

I believe that character training should be at the basis of all teaching but, as a teacher, I know how difficult it is to make it compulsory.

Mr. Chetwynd

Is it possible for my right hon. Friend to consider allowing some of the prisoners themselves to take teaching classes?

Mr. Ede

I understand that on technical subjects the abilities of prisoners are used, but prisoners are not regarded as the best persons to give character training.

Mr. Edward Evans

Would my right hon. Friend indicate how it is possible to apply a direct method of character training? Does not character training grow out of the curriculum?

Mr. Ede

My hon. Friend and I are both teachers. I would object to giving a lecture upon pedagogy to the House.