HC Deb 24 February 1972 vol 831 cc1467-8
4. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of prisons at which provision exists for the care of young children while prison visits are taking place.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

Most prisons in England and Wales are able to provide some facilities for mothers visiting with young children. Twenty-four have special accommodation available in which children can be left in care during the visit.

Mr. Cox

I very much welcome that reply but I am sure the Under-Secretary is aware of the difficulties experienced by many women, especially those with young children, in making prison visits, particularly if they have to travel a long way. Can the Under-Secretary therefore try to encourage discussion with prison governors and local voluntary organisations to extend this provision to as many prisons as possible?

Mr. Carlisle

I am aware of the difficulties and the need to improve visiting facilities generally, and that we are attempting to do within the resources available.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Would the Under-Secretary also look at the rules that apply to the relations between prisoners and their young children? I appreciate the difficulties concerning category A prisoners but as regards some category B and category C prisoners the rules seem to be very strictly interpreted.

Mr. Carlisle

I have always understood that the problem was with category A prisoners but I will look at the point that the hon. Lady has made.