HC Deb 21 January 1982 vol 16 cc400-1
6. Mr. Latham

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the outcome of the short, sharp shock regime in detention centres.

Mr. Whitelaw

In the light of our experience of operating the tougher regimes at New Hall and Send, last September I extended the project to two other centres. A programme to evaluate the tougher regimes pilot project in the four centres is proceeding, but the results will not be available until next year.

Mr. Latham

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, whatever the pained views of the so-called experts, stern regimes of this kind have widespread public support? Will he bear that in mind in his review?

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes. It was because the first two regimes seemed to be working well that we decided upon two further regimes. I believe that they will prove their worth.

Dr. Summerskill

As, under the Criminal Justice Bill, the House is asked to endorse the perpetuation of detention centres, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the new regimes at New Hall and Send were set up as long ago as April 1980? About 1, 000 boys have now come out of those institutions under the new regime. They have been out for almost a year. Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore examine the reconvicion rates among those boys and give some information about how the short, sharp shock experiment is working?

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes. I should have to compare the reconviction rates in other detention centres. I should like to bring forward the pilot project very quickly. I believe that it would prove—perhaps not for the first time—that what the Government are seeking to do is right and that the hon. Lady's criticisms are wrong.