HC Deb 21 June 1956 vol 554 cc1601-2
10. Mr. Collins

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the special arrangements applying to prisoners who are former escapees or have attempted to escape, with the object of eliminating regulations which may result in further attempts at escape; and, in particular, if he will give instructions that escapees shall not be compelled to have a light in their cells all night, and that their cases shall be regularly reviewed at intervals of not more than six months with the object of removing their names from the escape list when their conduct is satisfactory.

Major Lloyd-George

I am satisfied that the present arrangements are necessary in order to prevent escapes, and I do not accept the suggestion that they are so onerous as to lead prisoners subject to them to try to escape. A dimmed light in the cell through the night is a necessary part of these arrangements. Governors already have discretion to remove from the list any prisoner who in their view is no longer likely to try to escape. This consideration, and not satisfactory conduct in general, must continue to decide whether a man should remain on the list. The lists are reviewed periodically.

Mr. Collins

Is the Home Secretary aware that as the clothes of these men were removed from the cell overnight there is no justification for keeping a light on all the time? Surely it is not unreasonable to ask that the cases should be reviewed every six months? Is he further aware that I referred to him the case of a man who had earned full remission during nineteen months of the sentence which he had served, and that his name was removed from the list only after I had tabled a Question on the subject?

Major Lloyd-George

I can assure the hon. Member that his Question had nothing whatever to do with that: it is entirely in the governor's discretion. The cases are reviewed from time to time. I do not think that the light can be a very great hardship. It is one of about 25 watts, and in addition it is coloured red or amber, as the case may be.