HC Deb 18 April 1957 vol 568 cc2083-4
19. Sir L. Plummer

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions are made in prisons for psychiatric treatment of prisoners who are homosexual; and what methods are available to ascertain whether prisoners not actually convicted for homosexual offences are, in fact, also practising homosexuals.

Mr. Simon

All prisoners known or suspected to be homosexual are specially examined and, if found suitable for psychotherapy, are sent to a prison with a psychiatric clinic if the sentence is long enough to allow of proper treatment. Homosexuals whose offence gives no indication of their inversion come to notice through their mannerisms or behaviour in prison, or through information obtained from their past records or other sources; but it is unlikely that all are detected in this way.

20. Sir L. Plummer

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners sentenced to prison for sexual offences and promised treatment for their abnormalities do, in fact, receive such treatment.

Mr. Simon

Prisoners sentenced for sexual offences receive psychotherapy if they are found suitable for treatment and if the sentence is long enough to allow of it. Particular attention is always paid to any recommendation by a court. In 1956, 60 men and boys sentenced for sexual offences received treatment by visiting psychotherapists, but I cannot say how many of these had been recommended for treatment by the court at the time of sentence.

Sir L. Plummer

Is it not clear that there is little validity in the statement made constantly by magistrates and judges to sexual offenders that when they go to prison they will receive the medical treatment which they should have for their abnormality? Does not this mean that there must be a rapid extension of the very admirable psychiatric work now going on in Her Majesty's prisons?

Mr. Simon

I know the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter, particularly in the psychiatric unit in Wormwood Scrubs. We hope to extend that considerably when we get the new psychiatric institution at Grendon Underwood.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

May we take it from the Under-Secretary of State that he is not very happy about the facilities which are available? Can he give a rather more definite idea to the House when he expects the facilities to be made adequate?

Mr. Simon

It would be very difficult to give a firm date for completion at Grendon Underwood, but a start is to be made this year.