HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc607-8
8. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations had been made by prison officers before 20th October to the effect that the unrestricted association permitted to prisoners throughout all four floors of Wormwood Scrubs made it impracticable for prison officers to carry out their duty of supervising prisoners' activities and of preventing arrangements being made to effect escape.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No formal representations were made, but some of the problems resulting from unrestricted association were discussed by the staff with the Governor and the Assistant Director concerned.

Sir Richard Glyn

Would the Home Secretary look at a letter dated 16th September sent to the Prison Department by the prison officers at Wormwood Scrubs, very strongly stressing the lack of necessary security and the impossibility of proper supervision of the unrestricted association between prisoners in large areas in the prison which could not be watched through lack of manpower?

Mr. Jenkins

The position in D Block was specifically considered at a conference of the security committee which was set up at the prison itself, within the prison, and the question of restricting association to the ground floor. It was decided at that time, in 1965, that this would not help, but I have looked at the position since, and I think that there is something in the view that unrestricted association over four floors was a danger, and this has now stopped.

Mr. Sharples

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that in a reply to a Question, he told me that 318 prisoners were accommodated in D Wing at Wormwood Scrubs, and were looked after by only two prison officers? Does he think that this is adequate?

Mr. Jenkins

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is quite accurate. There were two prison officers in D Block, but a substantial number of the 318 prisoners were in the recreation hut, where there were two other prison officers. I think that was the position.