HL Deb 12 May 1835 vol 27 cc1015-6
The Duke of Richmond

presented the first Report of the Committee, of which he had the honour to be a Member, on the subject of Prison Discipline. The Committee had not yet brought their labours to a close, but they presented this first result of their labours, and begged to draw the attention of the House to some subjects well deserving consideration. Some prisons in this country were, in their opinion, in an improved state; but they thought that, the prisons of Newgate, Giltspur street, and the Borough Compter, were in a state that must tend to corrupt those who were imprisoned in them, and were much more likely to increase than diminish the amount of crime. The Committee had adopted six resolutions. The first was, that it was expedient that one uniform system of prison discipline be established in every gaol and house of correction in England and Wales; the second, that, for the sake of securing uniformity of discipline, it is expedient that the rules and regulations of the gaols shall in future be submitted to the Secretary of State for his approval, instead of, as at present, to the judges of assize; the third, that inspectors of prisons be appointed to visit the prisons from time to time, and to Report to the Secretary of State; the fourth, that entire separation, except during the hours of labour and of religious worship and instruction, is absolutely necessary for preventing contamination, and for securing a proper system of prison discipline; the fifth, that silence be enforced, so as to prevent all communication between prisoners both before and after trial; the sixth, that persons whose trials have been postponed, or who, having been tried, have been acquitted on the ground of insanity, shall not be confined in the gaols or houses of correction. The Committee expressed their regret that the words of the resolution under which they were appointed were of too limited a nature, and they proposed that instead of their inquiry being confined to England and Wales, it should be extended to Scotland. They promised to lose no time in the prosecution of the several branches of inquiry. When the Report and evidence should have been printed and distributed, he should take an early opportunity of calling the attention of the House to this important subject. He now moved, that the Report be received and be printed, that the powers of the Committee in their inquiry should be extended to Scotland, and that an Address should be presented to his Majesty praying for copies of the Returns relative to borough and city gaols made under the 5th Geo. 4th, c. 84. Motions agreed to.

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