HC Deb 04 July 1968 vol 767 cc1669-70
11. Dr. Gray

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to introduce overnight visits by their wives for those serving long-term sentences in Her Majesty's Prisons.

Mr. Callaghan

I am considering this and a number of other proposals in the report of the Advisory Council on the Penal System on the régime for long-term prisoners in conditions of maximum security but I have no announcement to make on this subject.

Dr. Gray

It is not the aim of a prison sentence to break up marriages, encourage homosexuality or punish innocent husbands and wives. Although I am

Number of persons convicted Indictable offences
Year Indictable and non-indictable offences Motoring offences Drunkenness offences Number known to the police Percentage not cleared up
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
1964 1,327,649 806,412 73,167 1,067,963 60.4
1965 1,368,048 840,374 69,005 1,133,882 60.8
1966 1,445,948 899,760 66,599 1,199,859 59.8
1967 1,579,653 1,002,133 71,654 1,207,354 58.8
Note: The figures in columns (3) and (4) are included in column (2).

extremely glad to know that my right hon. Friend is considering this matter, will he give it urgent attention and look at the example of Sweden and Mexico and introduce conjugal visits of this kind as soon as possible?

Mr. Callaghan

No, Sir, I cannot give that undertaking. The hypothesis on which my hon. Friend bases his question is susceptible to more than one interpretation. As Professor Radzinowicz' subcommittee said in its report in commenting on this matter, the results of an ill prepared scheme could be disastrous. I agree with that.

Mr. Carlisle

Will the Home Secretary realise that this is an extremely controversial proposal and that there are a great many strong practical arguments against permitting such visits? Will he, instead, consider making greater use of home visits by prisoners who are suitable for them?

Mr. Callaghan

I think that is a much more promising line of approach.