HC Deb 01 March 1956 vol 549 cc1341-2
5. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many mothers with children under school-leaving age have been sent to prison during 1955 for neglecting such children.

Major Lloyd-George

One hundred and twenty-five, Sir.

Mr. Fernyhough

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is a growing volume of opinion which believes that this type of punishment is completely unsuitable in these cases? Is he aware that some voluntary homes have been established where mothers found guilty of neglecting their children can go? Those homes are doing excellent work in bringing about reform. Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman bring them to the attention of the magistrates courts? Further, will he consider making these homes a Government grant in order that this humanitarian work can be extended?

Major Lloyd-George

As the hon. Gentleman knows, there are other places where these courses can be taken, and they are being used now. Also, in Birmingham Prison a course is given in parenthood and housekeeping for this type of case. However, I shall be happy to look into his suggestion.