HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1870-1
23. Mr. Sandys

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider amending the regulations governing the grant of parole to prisoners, with a view to protecting the public against the abuse of this privilege by dangerous criminals.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

New instructions were issued four weeks ago emphasising that special care must be exercised before prisoners with records of violence are granted short-term parole.

Mr. Sandys

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many people feel that more emphasis should be put on the safety of the public and less on the wishes and convenience of criminals?

Mr. Jenkins

I have heard the right hon. Gentleman make that statement before, but I am bound to say that I regard it more as a slogan than as a policy. If he is concerned with this issue rather than merely to exploit it, as he does with most emotive issues, for the purposes of his own "shadow" battle, he may care to note that this year we have so far reduced prison escapes—escapes from closed prisons—to about 20 per cent. of those in the last few years in which he shared responsibility.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that as one of Her Majesty's Ministers his duty at the Box is to answer questions and not sneer at Members who are doing their duty by their constituents?

Mr. Jenkins

I am bound to say that I have never heard a more ridiculous statement, even from the hon. and learned Gentleman. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. There is too much warmth and not enough light at the moment.

Sir Knox Cunningham

On a point of order. Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise it again at an early moment.