HC Deb 19 October 1949 vol 468 c548
40. Mr. Skinnard

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of African dissatisfaction with the policy of sending prisoners from Nyasaland to. Southern Rhodesia to serve their sentences when their labour is urgently required for work on water conservation, road making and food production in Northern Nyasaland, which is being seriously affected by prolonged drought; and if he will reverse this policy.

Mr. Creech Jones

I understand that this arrangement was necessitated by lack of prison space in Nyasaland. It is not practicable to change this arrangement. The intention is that only long-term prisoners of a type unsuitable for employment outside gaols will be sent to Southern Rhodesia. The number away is unlikely at any time to exceed 50 and the initial number is not expected to be more than 20 out of a daily average prison population of over 800. This arangement will therefore not deprive Nyasaland of labour which could usefully be employed in the Protectorate.

Mr. Skinnard

Do we understand from that reply that the majority of the prisoners retained in Nyasaland are, in fact, being used on work of urgent public importance?

Mr. Creech Jones

Most prison labour is suitably employed on public work.

Mr. Scollan

Is this not the very thing which has been condemned by the Press and every public personage when taking place in Russia? Is it not the very thing which has now been introduced in this case?

Mr. Creech Jones

Nothing of the kind. The prison labour is employed on suitable public work and under reasonable conditions.

Mrs. Leah Manning

There is no difference.