HC Deb 24 November 1960 vol 630 cc1286-7
10. Mr. A. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children under the age of 17 years, boys and girls, respectively, were remanded to prison, instead of being sent to remand homes, in England and Wales, during the nine months ended 30th September, 1960.

Mr. Vosper

Five hundred and eighty-five boys and 23 girls.

Mr. Brown

Will the Minister be so good as to inform the House of the progress which the Government have so far made this year in relation to the provision of secure accommodation for young offenders? Will he also state by what date it can reasonably be hoped that the availability of such accommodation will render the use of prisons unnecessary for this purpose?

Mr. Vosper

Work is about to start at Stamford House for boys in the London area. That accommodation should be ready in the spring. Authorisation has just been given for similar provision for girls at Cumberlow Lodge Remand Home. That will take rather longer. We are exploring the possibility of a home in some other part of the country.

Miss Bacon

What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to draw the attention of local authorities to their responsibilities in this matter?

Mr. Vosper

I do not think that the hon. Lady is quite on the same Question. This relates to the provision of secure accommodation. My right hon. Friend undertook to arrange for accommodation in certain centres throughout the country, and responsibility rests with the Home Office.

Mr. V. Yates

Does the Minister realise that a very great problem is being posed for local prisons such as Birmingham, where 50 borstal boys are detained? Is he aware that last week the governor was in difficulty because of the excess numbers and had to put up beds in classrooms in Winson Green Prison?

Mr. Vosper

Part of the problem rests in the provision of remand centres, to which my right hon. Friend is giving very urgent attention.