HC Deb 18 June 1959 vol 607 c620
3. Mr. Fitch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for increasing prison staff.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

The number of prison officers continues to increase. On 1st June there were 4,647 men and women prison officers in post compared with 4,540 on 1st January, 1959, and 4,259 on 1st January, 1958. In February the officer training facilities were enlarged to accommodate over 200 extra trainees a year, with the object of increasing the future rate of expansion.

Mr. Fitch

Is the Home Secretary aware that there is still great concern among prison officers about understaffing and that this was evident in speeches made by delegates to their association conference held in Dover recently? Does the right hon. Gentleman not feel that there is a danger of an increase in homosexuality in prisons where there is not enough supervision?

Mr. Butler

I should like to give further consideration to the second part of that question. As to the first part, the situation, of course, is not ideal, but I am glad to say that we are receiving plenty of applications and that we are dealing with the accommodation problems. The building programme is going ahead as fast as possible, and we are attempting to meet the obvious needs and desires of prison officers to the best of our ability.