HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 c625
34. Sir R. Cary

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have escaped in the last 12 months for which figures are available; what disciplinary action was taken as a result of these escapes; and if he will specify the total number of cases dealt with respectively by the courts and the prison visiting committees, against other prisoners and against prison officers, respectively.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

In the 12 months ending 30th September, 1966, there were 529 escapes of all kinds from prison in England and Wales. Awards under the Code of Discipline were made against 44 prison officers and two night patrols as a result of escapes. Records are not available to show the action taken against other prisoners who aided escapes: in all such cases disciplinary action is taken by the board of visitors or visiting committee or a court.

Sir R. Cary

In regard to disciplinary matters, has the prison governor to consult the Home Secretary before taking action? Surely the prison governor, who is the commander on the spot, ought to take decisions within his own command, within the prison, without consulting the Home Office, in the same way as the Chief Inspector of Constabulary would take decisions in relation to the police?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes. The prison governor is free to take action without consulting the Home Secretary.