HC Deb 20 November 1969 vol 791 cc1494-5
15. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will state the number of deaths which have occurred in the Portland Borstal Centre during the past six months; when these occurred; what was the cause of death in each instance; and what action he has taken or intends taking to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which was given to his Question on 22nd October. The measures taken to prevent attacks on inmates are kept under constant review.[Vol. 788, c. 255.]

Mr. Lewis

I thank my hon. Friend for her kindness in interviewing me yesterday and for the discussions which ensued. Having said that, may I say that the information which she gave yesterday, and which she has given again today, is quite unsatisfactory, and that when the matter is no longer sub judice I shall take the opportunity of raising it on the Adjournment?

Mr. Evelyn King

Does not the Question also show the delicacy and difficulty inherent in the tasks of a Portland borstal prison officer or housemaster? In the light of the risks that they run and the anxiety suffered by their wives—and one of the officers, too, was murdered in recent years —will the hon. Lady pay tribute to the quality of the work they do and the courage they show?

Mrs. Williams

I think that borstal officers do a great deal of good in difficult circumstances. The answer to the point made by my hon. Friend is that in any case where an inmate in borstal loses his life there is an immediate departmental inquiry into the circumstances in an endeavour to establish all the facts.

Back to