HC Deb 21 June 1972 vol 839 cc451-3
10. Mr. Edward Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons were in prisons in Scotland at the most recent date for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures five, 10 and 15 years previously.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

On 6th June, 1972, there was a total of 4,337 persons in custody in Scottish prisons and young offenders institutions. Figures for particular dates in the earlier years are not available, but the corresponding average daily figures in the years 1967, 1962 and 1957 were 3,424, 2,702 and 1,922.

Young offenders institutions were introduced in 1965.

Mr. Taylor

As the figures demonstrate that the prison population in Scotland has more than doubled in 15 years, will my right hon. Friend say whether he is satisfied with the existing provision of prison accommodation and what plans he has to increase it in the future?

Mr. Campbell

There is overcrowding. A new male young offenders institution of 500 places is now under construction at Glenochil and one for 220 places for women and girls at Cornton Vale. These are scheduled for completion in 1974. The numbers in custody I gave for June this year are 250 less than in June last year.

Mr. John Smith

When planning future provision for the prison service, will the Secretary of State bear in mind the need not only to build more places where people can be detained but to embark, on a much more ambitious scale than has yet been thought of, on devices for rehabilitating people and trying to give them constructive work, particularly young offenders, so that they can be returned to work at the earliest possible time, thus reducing the number in custody?

Mr. Campbell

All these matters are also under consideration. I am glad to say that the Scottish Council on Crime, which was recently brought into existence, will also be considering these matters.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

What information does the Secretary of State have or is he seeking to get on the connection between high unemployment among frustrated young people and the incidence of crime? Although there is no substitute for job opportunity, will the right hon. Gentleman look sympathetically at any social schemes which will take up the interests of young people?

Mr. Campbell

This also can be looked into, but I do not know of any direct relationship having been brought to my notice in this regard.