HC Deb 02 May 1957 vol 569 cc345-6
11. Mr. Keegan

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reasons were given to his officials by a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder, who was recently released on parole to permit him to attend the funeral of a close relation, who was looking after his children, for not taking advantage of the facilities afforded to him.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I am sorry to say that the prisoner in question was deterred from attending the funeral owing to his fear of the presence of Press representatives and photographers.

In the interests of the welfare of prisoners and their families I must, in the light of this incident and of the general issues involved, reconsider the policy relating to the release on parole of prisoners on any future occasions. I shall be glad of any help I may receive from the Press with a view to preventing the recurrence of such incidents.

Mr. Keegan

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the action of the Press was reprehensible in this case? Does he contemplate not stopping prisoners from being paroled in those circumstances, but taking some steps to see that the Press do not behave in such a way in future?

Mr. Butler

This matter has been brought to my attention only in the last two or three days, and I am making the contacts necessary before I make up my mind, but I certainly do not want to prejudice prisoners and their families. I have made an appeal to the Press, which I hope will be noticed in the light of my Answer to this Parliamentary Question.