HC Deb 13 May 1952 vol 500 cc1087-8
2. Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, with a view to protecting prison officers, he will consider the advisability of reintroducing corporal punishment for certain offences committed in prisons in Scotland.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)

Power to authorise the corporal punishment of convicts for certain offences at Peterhead Prison was repealed by the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act, 1949, and the present powers of punishment are considered adequate for the maintenance of discipline and the protection of prison officers.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Has my hon. Friend given consideration to the fact that in England it has been found to be necessary and has been backed by the Home Secretaries in the last two Governments, and will he perhaps reconsider this matter, as prison warders, or prison officers, are definitely concerned about it?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir, that is true as regards England, but in Scotland our law and custom make it possible for us to deal with this matter in a way we think adequate. Trivial assaults are dealt with by the governor and serious assaults are reported to the Lord Advocate with a view to prosecution. In the last four years only four such cases have been recorded and sentences imposed.

Mr. John Wheatley

Is it not the case that if a serious attack is committed by a prisoner against a prison officer he will be subject to a criminal charge and to the same punishment as any other person who committed a similar offence outside the prison? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that during the discussion of the Criminal Justice Bill this matter was very fully investigated and that to make any alteration would be a retrograde step?

Mr. J. McGovern

If consideration is to be given to this extension, will the hon. Gentleman also consider the case of prisoners who are being brutally maltreated by the police officers in Glasgow so that they also have the application of corporal punishment?

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