HC Deb 12 April 1956 vol 551 cc384-5
39. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the net increase in the number of prison officers serving in England and Wales during the past year; and how many years it will take, at the present rate of recruitment, to introduce a three-shift system in all prisons.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Major Gwilym Lloyd-George)

During 1955 the number of men officers increased by 42 and the number of women officers decreased by 25. It is estimated that it would require an additional 1,000 men to extend the three-shift system to all men's prisons, but such an extension has not been authorised and may indeed not to be practicable.

Mr. Yates

Does not this mean that it will take about fifty years before prisoners in local prisons can be brought out to undertake a full day's work? Is this not an appalling position, and what steps is the Minister taking to improve it?

Major Lloyd-George

The hon. Gentleman will observe that I stated that to extend this system to all men's prisons would not be practicable, and it is not the intention.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman answer my hon. Friend's question, and tell the House what steps he is taking, if any, to speed up the recruitment of prison officers so that this appalling situation can be remedied?

Major Lloyd-George

Whilst the number of prison officers is below establishment, it is not so far below as all that. To extend the three-shift system to all prisons, which is not the intention, would take another thousand men beyond the present establishment, which at the moment is about 200 below strength.

Mr. Greenwood

Does that answer mean that the Minister is taking no steps to recruit the thousand prison officers that are needed?

Major Lloyd-George

No. If the hon. Gentleman will do me the courtesy of reading my Answer tomorrow, he will find that the number of men has increased.

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