HC Deb 04 April 1963 vol 675 cc607-8
9. Mr. Fitch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average number of hours worked per week by male prisoners in Her Majesty's local prisons.

Mr. Woodhouse

At a recent date, of 10,000 men working in workshops in local prisons, about 3,000 worked for 17 hours or less, 4,400 between 18 and 25 hours, 1,500 between 25 and 30 hours, and 1,100 for more than 30 hours.

Mr. Fitch

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that part of the reformative training of prisoners should be a hard day's work? Will he tell us a little more about the statement his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made in reply to an earlier Question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) about the various schemes which are now being considered for increasing the number of hours that prisoners work? Surely the hon. Gentleman would agree that prisoners should work at least as long in prison as they would be expected to work in industry outside?

Mr. Woodhouse

I certainly agree with the first point in the hon. Member's supplementary question. On the second point, I hesitate to add to what my right hon. Friend has already said. I recognise that the low figure of hours worked in the case I gave of 3,000 prisoners is unsatisfactory. It occurs in the large local prisons where the shortage of workshop staff and other demands on the staff, to which my right hon. Friend referred, are acute. But we are thinking of ways in which this can be remedied.