HC Deb 04 June 1964 vol 695 cc1240-1
36. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many young men under 21 years of age were sent to prison during 1963; and how these figures compare with 1962, 1961, and 1951.

Miss Pike

As the Answer consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Boyden

Is there not a general deterioration? Will the hon. Lady consider much more active steps among magistrates, with Her Majesty's judges, to discuss the situation which these figures reveal so that more concerted steps can be taken to keep young men out of prison?

Miss Pike

We do regard this as a matter of urgency, and we are keeping magistrates in consultation with us all the time.

Sir T. Moore

Will my hon. Friend remember that, on both sides of the House, we all intensely dislike the fact that young people can still be sent to prison? As I have frequently suggested, would not a good spanking on the behind meet the case far better?

Miss Pike

That is a much wider question.

Following are the figures:

Year In default of payment of fine Without the option of payment of fine Total
6 months and under* Over 6 months
1951 114 833 323 1,270
1961 427 1,863 739 3,029
1962 468 1,467 756 2,691
* Detention centres, as an alternative to imprisonment for 6 months and under, were available to certain courts in 1961 and 1962.

Figures for 1963 are not yet available.