HC Deb 24 February 1955 vol 537 cc1442-3
40. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department his present policy with regard to the rehabilitation in civil employment of discharged prisoners; and what steps are taken by his Department to supplement the activities of the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society in this matter.

Major Lloyd-George

My policy is to seek every means to secure the rehabilitation of discharged prisoners in civil employment. Prisoners are invited to make use of the employment exchanges of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, which make special efforts on behalf of all prisoners who wish to use their services. These efforts are supplemented by those of the Central After-Care Association, the National Association of Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies, and the local discharged prisoners' aid societies. The procedure followed is set out in the Report of the Committee on Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies presented to Parliament in June, 1953.

In order to assist the societies in their work, I have already implemented five of the seven recommendations of this Committee, and, as I informed the House on 3rd February, I propose this year to start implementing the remaining two. I also attach importance to the scheme for giving suitable prisoners vocational training in skilled trades, which leads many of them to obtain the certificates of the City and Guilds of London Institute.

Mr. Fletcher

Whilst appreciating that answer, may I ask if the Home Secretary realises that the present method of assisting ex-prisoners to rehabilitate themselves is totally inadequate? There have been several cases of ex-prisoners who, on release, have come out of prison with only a few pence, with no prospects of employment, with every prejudice against them and obviously with no stamps on their employment card. In the interests of deterring ex-prisoners from returning to a life of crime, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman see that the whole system is reviewed?

Major Lloyd-George

I have never pretended, nor have my predecessors pretended, that the system is perfect, but it is improving. Some of the recommendations I have put into effect should do a great deal to assist, particularly that in regard to the option of the governor to pay the fare to the ex-prisoner's destination. Implementation of the last two, I hope, will be started this year.