HL Deb 24 June 1836 vol 34 cc847-8
The Duke of Richmond

, after calling their Lordships attention to the Report of the Inspectors of Prisons, relative to the state of Newgate, begged to ask his noble Friend at the head of his Majesty's Government, whether it was the intention of Ministers to remove the Prisoners now confined in Newgate to the Penitentiary, where he believed there was plenty of room for them. The Government possessed this power under a Bill which he (the Duke of Richmond) had introduced last Session. He wished to know whether Government had taken any steps for this purpose, and if not, whether it was their intention to do so?

Viscount Melbourne

replied, that the Report of the Inspectors of Prisons had engaged the most serious attention of his Majesty's Government, and the Secretary of State for the Home Department had taken measures to remedy, so far as his power extended, the defects they had pointed out. Those defects, he fully admitted called loudly for the intervention either of the executive or of Parliament. He had great pleasure in being enabled to inform his noble Friend, that a Bill was in preparation for amending the Gaol Acts, agreeably to the suggestions of the Com missioners, although, perhaps, the pres sure of other business, and the advanced period of the sittings of the Houses, would prevent its being introduced this Session. With respect to Newgate a proposition had been made by Government to the Corporation of London, which, if accepted by them, would have the effect of remedying the evils which existed, not only in the gaol of Newgate but in all the city prisons. No answer had yet been received to this communication, but there was every reason to believe that it would be acceded to. He was not aware that there was any present intention of removing the prisoners con fined in Newgate to the Penitentiary, but the matter should be reconsidered. At all events, measures were under consideration for providing an effectual and fundamental remedy for the evils that prevailed in New gate and in the other city prisons.

The Earl of Ripon

was very glad the subject had been brought forward by the noble Duke. He trusted the Corporation of London would receive the communication favourably, and he hoped the notice now taken of the subject might be an additional inducement to them to do so.

The Duke of Richmond

only wished to add, that he considered the Report of the Inspectors of Prisons a very excellent one, and that he entirely concurred with every statement contained in it. The state of the borough prisons was very bad; and he thought it important that in the event of the Bill to which his noble Friend had alluded not passing in the present Session, they should not be allowed to alter their gaols without previously submitting to his Majesty's Ministers copies of the proposed plans. Subject dropped.

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