HC Deb 30 January 1952 vol 495 cc176-7
36. Mr. R. W. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the appeal made in the Trusteeship committee of the United Nations on 19th December that corporal punishment in Colonial possessions should be abolished, what steps he proposes to take to ensure more rapid progress towards the abolition of this form of punishment; and what reduction of corporal punishment sentences took place in Tanganyika in 1951, compared with the over 1,000 sentences in 1949 and 1950.

Mr. Lyttelton

His Majesty's Government's policy remains that of securing, as circumstances, including African opinion, permit, the abolition of corporal punishment as a sanction of the courts in the territories for which they are responsible.

The information requested in the second part of the Question is not yet available, and I will communicate later with the hon. Member when it is received.

Mr. Sorensen

As there are practically only two nations left which still utilise this form of punishment; as Tanganyika seems to have a much greater number of instances of corporal punishment than any other Colony, where it is now largely abolished; and, in view of the fact that a large number of sentences for corporal punishment were imposed in 1949 and 1950, does he not agree that much greater speed towards the abolition of this punishment should be pursued?

Mr. Lyttelton

I hope the hon. Member will not think I am illiberal in my approach to this matter, but we must be very careful to proceed with circumspection. In the absence of a proper probationary system, it is very easy to abolish corporal punishment and end up by making habitual criminals.

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