HC Deb 04 April 1963 vol 675 cc605-6
6. Miss Quennell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now consider the need to establish a service for the after-care of prisoners, especially those released after serving long sentences, to help them in the first few months in resuming normal civilian life.

Mr. Brooke

The after-care of discharged prisoners is at present the responsibility of the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies or the Central After-Care Association, according to the class of prisoner, with the assistance of a Government grant. I am looking forward to an early report from my Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders on the whole organisation of after-care, because I want to consider this very important subject with a fresh mind in the light of whatever that report may say.

Miss Quennell

I express my appreciation of the work the voluntary societies mentioned have done in this connection, and I am delighted to hear that my right hon. Friend hopes to receive this report fairly soon. Is there anything he can do to expedite his Advisory Council in its deliberations and in the preparation of its report?

Mr. Brooke

I do not think that the Advisory Council needs any prodding. It is as concerned about this subject as I am—and, I believe, as the House is—and I hope that we shall have a report of great value, because I attach exceptional importance to this subject.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a slight gap which could easily be filled in that the representatives of the National Assistance Board do not usually see a discharged prisoner until the day of his release? If arrangements could be made so that these representatives could see prisoners 10 days or a fortnight before release, it might save a good deal of trouble.

Mr. Brooke

Yes, Sir. That point has been brought to my attention and I have certain other points in mind, but I hope that my hon. Friend will excuse me if I do not commit myself on any of them until I see the report.