HC Deb 22 July 1980 vol 989 cc351-71 '—(1) After the commencement of this section, it shall not be competent to impose detention in a detention centre or in a young offenders institution or a sentence of borstal training, but detention in a youth institution may be imposed on an offender who is of or over 16 and under 21 years of age in accordance with section 207 or 415 of the 1975 Act. (2) Any reference in any enactment to any of the following sentences in Scotland—

  1. (a) detention in a detention centre;
  2. (b) detention in a young offenders institution;
  3. (c) borstal training,

shall be construed as a reference to detention in a youth institution. (3) The Secretary of State shall prescribe certain institutions as youth institutions for the purposes of this section. (4) For each of sections 207 and 415 of the 1975 Act (restriction on imprisonment of persons under 17) there shall be substituted the following section— " Detention of young offenders. (1) It shall not be competent to impose imprisonment on a person under 21 years of age. (2) Subject to the following provisions of this section, a court may impose detention in a youth institution on a person of or over 16 and under 21 years of age where—

  1. (a) that person has been convicted of an offence which but for this section would be punishable with imprisonment; or
  2. (b) the court would have power but for this section to impose imprisonment, otherwise than by sentence, on him;

but the period of detention imposed under this section on any person shall not exceed the period of imprisonment which could be imposed on him if he were of or over 21 years of age. (3) A court shall not impose detention on a person under this section unless it is of the opinion that no other method of dealing with him is appropriate; and the court shall state its reason for that opinion, and the reason shall be entered in the record of the proceedings. (4) For the purposes of subsection (3) above, the court shall obtain information about the offender's circumstances from an officer of a local authority or otherwise, and shall take into account that information and any other information which is relevant to his character and to his physical and mental condition.". (5) The following enactments—

  1. (a) section 20 of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1952 (remission for good conduct); and
  2. (b) sections 59 to 62 and section 64 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 (release on licence),

shall apply to a person who has been sentenced under section 207 or 415 of the 1975 Act to a period of detention in respect of an offence as they apply to a person who has been sentenced to a period of imprisonment.

  1. (a) section 9 (transfer of young offenders between institutions);
  2. (b) section 10 (transfer to prison of persons over 21 etc.);
  3. (c) section 12 (supervision of persons released from young offenders institutions);
  4. (d) section 51 (interpretation),

shall have effect subject to the amendments set out in Schedule (Amendments to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1963) to this Act.'.—[Mr. Harry Ewing.] Brought up, and read the First time.
Mr. Harry Ewing

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

With this we may take the following amendments: No. 63, in page 38, line 39. leave out clause 45.

No. 74, which is a new schedule entitled Amendments of Sections 9, 10, 12 and 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1963 (c. 39)

1. In section 9—

  1. (a) in subsection (3) for "has been" substitute "is", and for "young offenders" substitute "youth";
  2. (b) in subsection (4), in paragraph (a) after "1957" insert "the Armed Forces Act 1976", and in paragraph (b) for "young offenders" in both places where it occurs substitute "youth".

2. In section 10, at the end of subsection (3) there shall be added the following proviso—"Provided that section 12 of this Act and section 212 or 421 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975 shall continue to apply to a person so transferred to prison."

3. For section 12 there shall be substituted the following section— Supervision of persons released from youth institutions

12.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person on release from detention in a youth institution in pursuance of a sentence shall, where the term of that detention was 6 months or more, be required to be under the supervision of such person as may be specified in the notice to be given to him by the Secretary of State on his release—

  1. (a) where he has been released on licence under section 60 (1) or section 61 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, until the expiry of a period of 12 months from the date of his release on licence or until the expiry of the licence, whichever is the later;
  2. (b) in any other case—
    1. (i) where the term of the detention was 6 months or more, but less than 18 months, until the expiry of a period of 6 months from the date of his release from detention, or
    2. (ii) where the term of the detention was 18 months or more, until the expiry of a period of 12 months from the date of his release from detention, and shall, while under that supervision, comply with such other requirements as may be specified in the said notice.

(2) The requirements specified by the Secretary of State under subsection (1) above shall be in addition to any conditions specified in any licence granted under the said section 60 (1) or 61.

(3) Without prejudice to any conditions specified in any licence granted under the said section 60 (1) or 61 and subject to subsection (5) below, any period of supervision mentioned in subsection (1) above shall terminate when the person under supervision attains the age of 23 years.

(4) The Secretary of State may by order extend the provisions of subsection (1) above to persons detained as aforesaid whose term of detention is less than 6 months but not less than 3; and, subject to subsection (5) below, such persons shall on release from detention be required to be under supervision until the expiry of a period of 6 months from the date of their release from detention.

(5) The Secretary of State may at any time modify or cancel any of the requirements specified by him under subsection (1) above or order that a person who is under supervision shall cease to be under supervision.

(6) If, before the expiration of the period for which a person is required under this section to be under supervision, the Secretary of State is satisfied that that person has failed to comply with any requirement for the time being specified in the notice given to him under subsection (1) above, he may by order recall him to a youth institution; and thereupon he shall be liable to be detained in that institution, and if at large he shall be deemed to be unlawfully at large:

Provided that—

  1. (i) any such order shall at the expiration of the said period cease to have effect unless the person to whom it relates is then in custody thereunder;
  2. (ii) the Secretary of State shall not make an order under this subsection where the person concerned is also subject to a licence granted under the said section 60 (1) or section 61.

(7) The period for which a person may be detained in pursuance of an order under subsection (6) above shall not exceed 3 months.

(8) The Secretary of State may at any time release a person who is detained under this section; and the provisions of this section shall apply in the case of a person so released subject to the following modifications—

  1. (a) in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) and in subsection (4)'release on licence' and 'release from detention' shall mean respectively 'original release on licence' and 'original release from detention';
  2. (b) the period during which he shall be liable to be detained on further recall shall be the period referred to in subsection (7) reduced by any time during which he has previously been detained under this section.".

4. In section 51 (5), for the words from "section 1" to "of age)" substitute "section 207 or 415 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975".

No. 119, in page 82, line 3, leave out Schedule 5.

Mr. Ewing

At the outset I should say that this is an undisguised attempt to give the Government an opportunity to reconsider their penal policy for offenders aged between 16 and 21. Amendment No. 63 would leave out clause 45. This would be replaced by new clause 4, if it were accepted. Amendment No. 74 is the new schedule that would be required to go with new clause 4, and amendment No. 119 would leave out the present schedule 5 which would be replaced by the new schedule created by amendment No. 74.

The penal policy for young people between 16 and 21 in Scotland is something that has caused some concern and given rise to a great deal of debate. We went through this subject at length in Committee. The Government's proposals are to have a young offenders' institution and a detention centre only. The institution of borstall would be abolished. Our new clause 4 would also abolish borstal but it would also abolish the young offenders' institution and the detention centre. We would have one single youth institution where youngsters between 16 and 21 would be sent by the courts on conviction. The arguments in favour of this are very strong. That is why we have brought the subject to the Floor of the House. We want the House to have an opportunity to decide the matter.

Our proposition would mean that young offenders between 16 and 21 convicted by the courts under the circumstances defined in new clause 4 would be sentenced to serve a term in a youth institution. We argued long and hard in Committee that in order to achieve this we would have a series of youth institutions with one or two being reception centres to which the youngsters would be sent from court to be allocated to the various parts of the penal system.

It is not really necessary for me to rehearse all the arguments again but it is important for me to place on the record that the proposal contained in new clause 4, with a slight variation, is a replica of the provision in the Labour Government's Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, which fell at the last general election. That proposal is based on the working party report that was published by the Scottish Office in 1969 when my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) was Under-Secretary with responsibility for penal affairs.

We consider that it would be a great tragedy if at this late stage the Government did not change their mind about their approach to young offenders. We know all the arguments that the Government have submitted in favour of short, sharp sentences. However, we have not heard that policy justified. In Committee we explained the effect that these short, sharp sentences would have on young people. We explained at great length that among those youngsters who are determined to pursue a life of crime, the short, sharp, shock treatment of a detention centre would become a sort of virility symbol. They would go around wearing the Glé nochil badge on their sleeves so as to boast to their fellows that they had been in that delention centre and that this was one more step along the road that they were following. There is no evidence to substantiate the claim that the short, sharp, shock treatment would do any good or reduce crime among youngsters.

We are all interested in reducing crime among young people, but the treatment of young offenders is probably the most important aspect of penal policy. I have argued not only here in the House but in Committee and outside as well that youngsters, of all people, have a right to the rehabilitation process. They have a right to an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves into society. As an Opposition, we consider that the proposals contained in our Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, and now contained in new clause 4, are much more effective in two respects.

First, they would be more effective in protecting society. We accept that society is entitled to protection. Secondly, they would also be more effective in giving the youngsters the opportunity of rehabilitation—of coming back into the community and playing a more meaningful role in society. For these reasons, and having considered the arguments made in Committee, I believe that the House should accept our amendments.

No doubt the Under-Secretary, in his leisure time between the last Committee sitting and the Report stage, has had a great many hours to read the Committee proceedings. He may well be persuaded that our approach is far better. We have seen some movement by the Government today in relation to one or two aspects of the Bill. Perhaps I am over-stating the feeling that there might be a bit more generosity shown by the Minister tonight than there was in Committee. Perhaps I will be disappointed in my feeling that the Minister is in a generous mood. Hon. Members have already referred to the fact that this morning the Government conceded seven new clauses in another Committee in which we are involved and that seems to indicate that the Minister is in a generous mood.

Not only would the Secretary of State do the Opposition a favour by accepting the new clause; he would do the Government a favour. Certainly, he would be doing penal policy a favour. The Government have taken the wrong road. If the right hon. Gentleman does not accept this fifty-ninth minute chance to come back from the brink he will have to return to the subject in the not-too-distant future and ask the House to accept that he made a mistake. He will have to accept that the better road is that suggested in the new clause.

The issue was discussed in great detail in Committee. Many examples were given of how youngsters respond to the regime and treatment which we suggest. I hope that the combination of arguments made in Committee and on Report will convince the Government that new clause 4 is the correct road. I look forward to the Minister accepting the new clause. I warn the House that if he does not accept the new clause we shall push the issue to a Division.

Mr. Buchan

The new clause is important and significant. It should be discussed, and if it is not accepted we should vote upon it. The Bill is punitive. We must bear that in mind. The main thrust of the Bill is concerned not with the rehabilitation or checking of offenders but with their punishment. The type of punishment is contained in clause 45, which we discussed at great length in Committee. It would take too long to repeat the arguments. I had hoped that the Government would have a change of heart, but if they have not, no reiteration by me will change their attitude.

Several things must be said and clearly understood. The Government are shifting the treatment of young offenders away from the people who are best equipped to treat them—away from those who have been trained and have some understanding of youngsters who have erred or sinned and committed a crime. Such youngsters must, one way or another, find their way back into society. Rehabilitation has become a hackneyed term However, re-habitation is necessary.

The Government propose to leave the judgment of how an offender should be treated to the court and the judge. They are reducing flexibility of treatment. Treatment and custodial care are to be based on the length of sentence. The Government are making a fundamental error. They say that if the sentence is four months or less the offender will go to a detention centre, and if the sentence is over four months the offender will go to a young offenders institute. The length of sentence imposed by the court because of the nature of the offence will determine the type of custody and treatment.

7.45 pm

There is a distinction between the nature of an offence and the nature of an offender. A wide range of people might commit the same offence. Young people should be given the opportunity to have a wide range of treatment in tailored institutions. Instead of providing that, the Government have made the crucial error of deciding that the type of treatment—not the length of treatment—will be determined by the length of sentence, which is based on a judgment by a court in relation not to the nature of the offender but to the nature of the offence. That is a flaw in the Bill.

Reference has been made to the work that I did when a paper was produced advocating such a flexible method. The new clause is an attempt to introduce such a method so that the prison section of the Scottish Office will have a range of institutions to provide the correct treatment for offenders.

Our only vision of a detention centre is that which was greeted with applause at the Tory Party conference, when the Home Secretary announced that he would be tough with crime and young offenders would receive a short, sharp shock. Clause 45 is the fulfilment of that pledge to the blue-rinsed set of woman brainpower at the Tory Party conference. It has nothing to do with the mature judgment of society.

The short, sharp shock has failed. In the fifteenth report from the Expenditure Committee the Home Office is reported to have said that there is evidence to show that reconviction rates are improved by longer sentences, shorter sentences, or alterations in regime of any kind so far attempted. On the contrary, such evidence as there is suggests that these factors are irrelevant as far as reconviction rates are concerned. That is a portmanteau statement. It says that custodial treatment has not been successful in rehabilitation. What are the Government doing? They are returning to the worst and most primitive kind of custodial treatment—the short, sharp shock.

The Expenditure Committee report went further, and said that the short, sharp shock regimes often failed because, from ordinary humanity, prison officers were unwilling, in sufficient numbers, to take on the role required, precluding as it does any pretension to helping or caring.

The report stated that it is hard on officers to be hard on prisoners; it is not their job to treat inmates harshly; being in prison is the punishment. There is a theoretical error, and an error in practice that is being repeated. In Committee and elsewhere I quoted figures which showed that in 1978 about 900 young people were admitted to existing detention centres. In the same year about 3,400 inmates were reconvicted. The system does not seem to work. Even within the regime the system does not seem to be successful. In 1978, 350 inmates committed 743 internal offences. So much for the success of the short, sharp shock. The Government are taking a backward and regrettable step. They have an opportunity to rescind their decision.

I shall not discuss at great length the new clause, which is a substitute for the wrongly headed clause 45. We discussed elements of it in Committee. The new clause would enable us to tailor the institution not to the offence but to the offender. After the court has dealt with an offence and determined the length of sentence, the offender will be put in care with the aim not only of ensuring the security of society but of putting the offender on the road to rehabilitation. The short, sharp shock prevents a return to society and rehabilitation.

The Government are wrong. They should withdraw their clause and replace it with ours, because it gives hope to the inmate and to the prison service. The one thing that cannot be missing in any prison regime is the element of hope. If the prison officers also lose hope, the short, sharp shock applies equally to them. It is hardship, cruelty and inhumanity. I hope that the Government will think again.

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Clause 44, which the new clause and the amendments seek to replace, is part and parcel of pure Conservative political dogma and ideology, as my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) has just said. It is designed to satisfy the blood lust of the blue-rinsed, twin-setted and pearl-laden ladies of the Tory Party. It has no valid reason in terms of trying to solve the problems of crime, particularly juvenile crime, in Scotland. It does not work, and it will not work.

In fact, the clause goes against one of the Conservatives' ideologies—the spirit of individuality, a person's right to be looked at and dealt with as an individual. The clause tries to institute a regime which is the opposite of that. It tries to destroy individuality. It gives all young offenders who have committed offences for which they will be given a sentence of less than four months exactly the same treatment—and harsh and hard treatment at that. It does not take into account their weaknesses, whether physical, psychological or mental. It gives them all a hard, harsh regime.

We have an example in the Glenochil detention centre of how the regime is applied. There are normally 109 young men always being given chores with no valid purpose. They have to work long hours, sweeping up floors, cleaning their rooms and making their beds, but doing nothing which is purposeful towards their coming out afterwards and getting a job in whatever career they may have. It destroys individuality and reinforces the violent nature of those who are violent and the inadequacies of those who are inadequate in the first place.

The regime makes those who are inadequate hate it, but it will not stop them from going back. My hon. Friend has given figures on that. In Committee I gave some figures from an organisation called "Cast Iron" and the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties on the number of people who, having been in the Glenochil detention centre, recommitted crime thereafter. I was mocked from the Conservative Benches, because Conservative Members believed that my sources were unreliable. It was not giving figures that they accepted, because they considered them to be from the "trendy Lefties" of the civil liberties movement.

The simple fact is that the Solicitor-General for Scotland would not or could not produce any figures to refute those that I gave. He never produced any to show that my statistics and those of "Cast Iron" or the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties were wrong. All that he could do was to pooh-pooh us and say that the sources were wrong, and that therefore the figures must be wrong. That is no basis for a reasonable argument.

In Committee, several of us asked the Solicitor-General for figures. I said that if he were prepared to produce statistics that refuted my arguments I would look at them seriously and reconsider how I regarded the matter, but on no occasion was he prepared to do so. I hope that even at this late stage he will be able to produce one or two statistics.

All the evidence suggests that the regime does not work. It does not stop youngsters from recommitting crime if they have been put into a detention centre. We believe that the regime has an effect that makes many youngsters commit crime again. It has a bad effect on the staff, as my hon. Friend also said. I am sorry that he put most of the arguments that I had intended to use. It has a bad effect on the staff in two ways. My hon. Friend gave one, which was that the members of staff feel that it is an inhumane regime and therefore are not prepared to carry it out. Arguably, the reason why we now have only one detention centre in Scotland, at Glenochil, is that many prison officers were not prepared to apply that sort of regime.

The regime has another effect. Many prison officers, particularly those dealing with juveniles, are qualified and trained in psychiatric nursing and other specialties to try to help the young offender. Those people, who are genuinely seeking to rehabilitate the young offender, will find such a regime very offensive and will not find it easy to fit into. There may therefore be a decline in numbers of prison officers and problems of recruitment if the regime is carried on.

The regime is wrong from that point of view, and it does not work. I hope that even at this late stage the Government will take out clause 44 and accept our new clause, which tries to deal with each juvenile offender on the basis of that person alone, and tries to give him the sort of guidance and help that is required.

Mr. Rifkind

Essentially, two points have been raised in the debate. I shall try to answer both.

First, while both sides of the House recognise that the existing sentencing policy for young offenders is inappropriate and inadequate, and should be re- placed or reformed, there is a difference between us about where to draw the dividing line between the proper responsibilities of officials and the administration in regard to the proper place for youngsters to be sent to, and the proper role of the judiciary.

In effect, what the Opposition are saying—they said it in their own Bill in the previous Parliament—is that once a youngster has been convicted and the judge has determined the length of the sentence, the court should have no further interest in what happens to him, and that it should be purely an internal administrative decision as to which establishment he should go to—whether a borstal, a young offenders institution or a detention centre.

We go some of the way with the Opposition in that, because we accept that nowadays—although perhaps not 20 or 30 years ago—the form of treatment in a young offenders institution and a borstal is so similar in many respects that it is not necessary or appropriate to predetermine that matter at the time of conviction. Therefore, to that extent we think it right that those two should be combined.

It is when we come to the question of sending the offender to a detention centre or a young offenders institution or other establishment that we draw a distinction. They are two very different forms of treatment, and we think it appropriate and right that there should be a role for the judge to determine not merely the length of sentence but the type of regime that is suitable for the offender. There is no doubt that the judiciary also takes that view, because it made strong representations to the previous Government to that effect. There is a clear distinction between us on this matter.

Mr. Buchan

Why should the judge decide? What knowledge or experience does he have to suggest that he can determine what kind of treatment an offender should have?

Mr. Rifkind

What is certainly appropriate and legitimate for a judge to decide is whether the sort of regime that is suitable and appropriate is to be found in a detention centre or in a more training-oriented regime in a borstal or, to some extent, a young offenders institution.

Many youngsters prefer to have that matter determined in open court when they are convicted rather than leave it to the internal administrative mechanism, under which they have little opportunity to express their own view at the time of decision. Once a youngster has been convicted, the person appearing on his behalf can make representations in open court as to what the defence thinks an appropriate form of allocation. It should not be assumed that the youngsters involved would necessarily prefer the Opposition's proposal on the method of sentencing.

8 pm

It would be possible for someone who had wandered into the debate without knowing the situation in Scotland to believe that detention centres had not existed in Scotland and that the Government were contemplating the introduction of a new form of treatment. In fact, we have had detention centres working for many years in the way that they will continue to work over the next few years. The criteria for sending a youngster to a detention centre may be changed, but, although there may not have been such centres south of the border, the short, sharp shock treatment is available in Scotland and has existed for many years, under a number of Labour Governments, without anyone suggesting that it should be discontinued. When the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) was responsible for these matters we had no proposal from him suggesting that it was an improper, obscene or barbaric form of treatment.

Mr, Buchan

May I state the facts? The whole purpose of my paper of that period was related precisely to that fact.

Mr. Rifkind

We do not know the internal discussions that the hon. Gentleman had with his colleagues at that time, but we know that the Government of which he was a member did not make any changes. The detention centres continued and the hon. Gentleman was responsible for them until the end of his term of office. It is worth mentioning that fact to put the matter into perspective.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) was wrong to suggest that medical, physical or psychological circumstances of an offender would not be taken into account when the form of treatment was being determined. I think that the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that if there were special medical, physical or psychological factors, a judge would not send a youngster to a detention centre in the first place.

There is a provision in clause 45 that if during a youngster's period within a detention centre the Secretary of State is satisfied that there are physical or psychological factors that make it inappropriate for him to continue in the centre, he has a specific power to ensure that the young person is transferred to a young offenders institution. The circumstances that concerned the hon. Member for Cathcart are met in the Bill.

Mr. Maxton

My point was that the mental, physical and psychological differences between individuals are not taken into account in the regime carried out in the centre.

Mr. Rifkind

If the hon. Gentleman is saying that there is a high degree of regimentation, he is correct. If he had visited a detention centre—he indicates that he has not—he would appreciate that recognition is given to the individual circumstances of offenders. They are not treated like a row of mechanical objects. There is a greater degree of uniformity than one would find in a young offenders institution, but it is wrong for the hon. Gentleman to go to the opposite end of the spectrum to try to demonstrate what happens in a detention centre.

The hon. Member might like to visit Glenochil before he comes to a firm conclusion.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland (Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn)

Send him there.

Mr. Rifkind

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman's age would justify that form of disposal.

Mr. Maxton

I asked in Committee and earlier today whether the Minister could give us figures from Glenochil to show whether, it works as a method of solving the problems of juvenile crime.

Mr. Rifkind

The Government have made it clear on every occasion that the matter has been discussed that we accept that there is no hard scientific evidence to prove that the short sharp shock regime is a magic formula to deal with young offenders. However, we maintain that it is one of an alternative series of punishments and that detention centres are particularly appropriate for those serving sentences of between one and four months, because that is the normal length of regime in a detention centre. We have the advantage in Scotland of having seen the system operate over the years. I cannot accept the contention that it has been less successful than other forms of disposal of young offenders.

Mr. Buchan

The burden of proof is on the Minister. The short, sharp shock was to be the solution. The hon. Gentleman must have had something on which to base that belief. He now claims that the Government never suggested that that would be the solution. After that glorious Tory Party conference when they all cheered and cried "We have the answer; the short sharp shock will put down the young vandals", the Under-Secretary tells us that they do not know whether that will work.

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman purports to quote remarks that I never made and uses them as a basis for disagreeing with the Government's policy. That may satisfy his sense of reason, but it does not satisfy mine.

The hon. Gentleman suggested that the onus of proof was on the Government. There is no such onus in Scotland. We have had detention centres for a number of years and there is no intention of changing the sort of regime that is carried on there. Detention centres existed in Scotland throughout the time of the Labour Government. I do not accept that we are changing the sort of treatment received by youngsters in Scotland.

No new issues have been raised in this debate. The matter was fully debated in Committee.

Mr. Maxton

The Minister insists that as there is a detention centre in Scotland he is not changing anything, yet he also claims that he cannot produce the statistics that show whether the centre works. If it has been in existence for all this time, the hon. Gentleman's civil servants must surely have collected some figures to prove whether it works.

Mr. Rifkind

Various figures have been used by various people in support of various arguments. I know that the hon. Gentleman's views will not be changed by various figures that have not satisfied him in the past.

Mr. Harry Ewing

The Minister goes on at length about nothing changing. In that case, why do we need clause 45?

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman knows that the Bill makes changes in relation to which youngsters go to detention centres. Instead of that matter being decided in one way, it will be decided in another, and all sentences of between one month and four months will in future be served in a detention centre. I hope that it is not a matter of surprise that that fact is explained in that way.

I was seeking to respond to the suggestion that the form of treatment provided in a detention centre is a new form of treatment in Scotland. We have had detention centres for several years. The previous Government did not attempt to abolish detention centres or the regime carried on in those centres.

The Opposition cannot say that because a Conservative Government wish to use the same establishment that was considered suitable for penal purposes under a Labour Government that has become a wicked and irresponsible policy, which should not be accepted. They may say that, but I do not believe that they will convince the House or the people of Scotland that it is a logical, rational or sensible approach.

Mr. Ewing

When the Under-Secretary reads his reply he will realise that it has been unsatisfactory and, in many parts, misleading. The Bill removes flexibility from the treatment of young offenders aged between 16 and 21. There has been considerable flexibility over the years. The Minister has told us and the country that all young offenders who are sentenced to periods of imprisonment of between one month and four months will serve that time in a detention centre. That has not previously been the case. That is a major change in the penal system for youngsters of between 16 and 21 years of age.

On the point about judges and their knowledge of the treatment best suited to young offenders, it seems astonishing that the Minister should call in aid the point that the judges are best fitted to decide the treatment. In Scotland the range of treatment available to the judges over many years has now been reduced not to two choices but, in the case of a one to four months' sentence, to only one course. Unless the youngster has some physical or mental defect the judge cannot decide that he should go to some other part of the youth penal system. He has to go to a detention centre whether or not the judge wants that—

Mr. Rifkind rose

Mr. Ewing

I wish to finish my point before the Minister intervenes. He said that all young offenders serving sentences of between one and four months would serve them in a detention centre. If the Minister wishes to intervene to change that statement I shall be interested to hear what he has to say.

Mr. Rifkind

The hon. Gentleman served on the Committee and, presumably, read clause 45. It states specifically that if the judge feels that there are special reasons why the youngster should not go to a detention centre, he may order that he should not go there, and that his reasons accordingly.

Mr. Ewing

That is right. I fully accept that. But the Minister has gone to great lengths, not only in clause 45 but in his public utterances, to explain what the special reasons are expected to be.

Division No. 422] AYES [8.13 pm
Adams, Allen Dewar, Donald Hooley, Frank
Allaun, Frank Dixon, Donald Hudson Davies, Gwilym Ednyfed
Alton, David Dobson, Frank Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)
Anderson, Donald Dormand, Jack Janner, Hon Greville
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Douglas-Mann, Bruce John, Brynmor
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Dubs, Alfred Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Duffy, A. E. P. Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Eadie, Alex Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Blown, Hugh D. (Provan) Eastham, Ken Kerr, Russell
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith) Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Kilfedder, James A.
Buchan, Norman Evans, John (Newton) Lambie, David
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Ewing, Harry Litherland, Robert
Campbell, Ian Faulds, Andrew McCartney, Hugh
Campbell-Savours, Dale Field, Frank McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Canavan, Dennis Flannery, Martin McElhone, Frank
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Foster, Derek McKelvey, William
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Freud, Clement McNamara, Kevin
Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) McWilliam, John
Crowther, J. S. George, Bruce Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shattles'n)
Cryer, Bob Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Cunningham, George (Islington S) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Maxton, John
Dalyeli, Tarn Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Maynard, Miss Joan
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Haynes, Frank Mikardo, Ian
Deakins, Eric Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Dempsey, James Home Robertson, John Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)

Far from the judges having greater discretion and more flexibility under the Bill, they will have less and less. Except in special circumstances they have no alternative but to send those serving between one and four months to a detention centre. It is important to put on the record that that does not apply only to youngsters serving between one and four months. When a youngster is sentenced to a period of treatment in excess of four months, up to four months of that sentence may be served in a detention centre and the balance in the other part of the youth institution system. Far from there being more flexibility, there is less.

With respect to the Minister, it is not true that the Labour Party or the previous Labour Government did not seek to abolish detention centres. There was a clause in the last Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill to remove borstal institutions and detention centres. We were aiming for the global approach for which my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) was responsible in 1969, namely, the youth institution system. That has been the burden of out argument tonight. On that basis, I wish to put the matter to a vote.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 121, Noes 168.

O'Neill, Martin Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Wainwright, Richard (Come Valley)
Palmer, Arthur Silverman, Julius Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Parry, Robert Skinner, Dennis Welsh, Michael
Pavitt, Laurie Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire) White, Frank R. (Bury * Radcliffe)
Penhaligon, David Spearing, Nigel White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Steel, Rt Hon David Wigley, Dafydd
Radice, Giles Stoddart, David Woodall, Alec
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South) Stott, Roger Woolmer, Kenneth
Richardson, Jo Strang, Gavin Young, David (Bolton East)
Robertson, George Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Rooker, J. W. Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ross, Ernest (Dundee West) Tilley, John Mr. George Morton and
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Tinn James Mr. Joseph Dean.
Rowlands, Ted Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Alexander, Richard Gummer, John Selwyn Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Alison, Michael Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Pollock, Alexander
Ancram, Michael Hampson, Dr Keith Proctor, K. Harvey
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Hannam, John Rees-Davies, W. R.
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Haselhurst, Alan Renton, Tim
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Hawksley, Warren Rhodes James, Robert
Bendall, Vivian Heddle, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Henderson, Barry Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Hicks, Robert Rifkind, Malcolm
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Berry, Hon Anthony Hordern, Peter Robinson, Peter (Belfast East)
Best, Keith Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Rost, Peter
Biffen, Rt Hon John Hurd, Hon Douglas Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Blackburn, John Jessel, Toby Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Braine, Sir Bernard Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Shersby, Michael
Bright, Graham Kaberry, Sir Donald Skeet, T. H. H.
Brinton, Tim Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Speed, Keith
Brittan, Leon Knight, Mrs Jill Speller, Tony
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Lawrence, Ivan Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Bruce-Gardyne, John Lester, Jim (Beeston) Sproat, lain
Budgen, Nick Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo) Squire, Robin
Bulmer, Esmond Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Stainton, Keith
Cadbury, Jocelyn Loveridge, John Stanbrook, Ivor
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Luce, Richard Stevens, Martin
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Lyell, Nicholas Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)
Chapman, Sydney McCrindle, Robert Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Churchill, W. S. MacGregor, John Stradling Thomas, J.
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) MacKay, John (Argyll) Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) McQuade, John Tebbit, Norman
Clegg, Sir Walter McQuarrie, Albert Temple-Morris, Peter
Cockeram, Eric Major, John Thompson, Donald
Colvin, Michael Marlow, Tony Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Corrie, John Mates, Michael Thornton, Malcolm
Costain, Sir Albert Mather, Carol Townend, John (Bridlington)
Cranborne, Viscount Mawby, Ray Trippier, David
Crouch, David Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Viggers, Peter
Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Mills, lain (Meriden) Waddington, David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Mills, Peter (West Devon) Wakeham, John
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Elliott, Sir William Moate, Roger Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Fairbairn, Nicholas Monro, Hector Wall, Patrick
Fairgrieve, Russell Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Ward, John
Faith, Mrs Sheila Mudd, David Warren, Kenneth
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Murphy, Christopher Watson, John
Fisher, Sir Nigel Myles, David Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N) Neale, Gerrard Wheeler, John
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Needham, Richard Whitney, Raymond
Fookes, Miss Janet Nelson, Anthony Wickenden, Keith
Forman, Nigel Neubert, Michael Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Newton, Tony Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Normanton, Tom Wolfson, Mark
Goodhew, Victor Onslow, Cranley Younger, Rt Hon George
Gray, Hamish Osborn, John
Greenway, Harry Page, Rt Hon Sir R. Graham TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire) Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Grist, Ian Parris, Matthew Mr. John Cope.
Grylls, Michael

Question accordingly negatived.

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