HC Deb 23 December 1976 vol 923 cc896-7
12. Mr. Sims

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average cost per head of treating offenders who are made the subject of senior attendance centre orders.

Mr. John

For the financial year 1975–76 the cost was about £3 per offender for a session of two hours' attendance. Attendance centre orders are for a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 24 hours.

Mr. Sims

I am grateful to the Minister for that information. Does not the figure he has given confirm that this is a much more economical way of dealing with offenders in the 17 to 21 age group than sending them to a prison establishment and also perhaps is more effective than imposing a fine that is not paid? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a strong case for increasing the number of senior attendance centres, the number of which for many years has remained at two throughout the country?

Mr. John

As I told the hon. Gentleman recently in answer to a Question, in 1974 the Advisory Council on the Penal System recommended closure of the centres, believing that more constructive treatment could be afforded by community service. We are considering that in the light and context of all the other proposals of the advisory council for the treatment of offenders between the ages of 17 and 21.