HL Deb 30 July 1857 vol 147 cc697-8

House in Committee, (according to order).

Clauses 1 to 11 agreed to, with verbal Amendments.


presented Clauses, the object of which was to prevent the evils and inconveniences which would arise from the association of children of different ages in reformatory schools. The managers of reformatory schools objected to receive under the same roof boys of nine, ten, and eleven years of age and young men of nineteen and twenty. They disliked to receive boys, indeed, of a greater age than fourteen, and thus boys between fourteen and sixteen were practically excluded from the benefits of these institutions. The effect of his clauses would be to extend the age of admission from sixteen to twenty, but not to alter the age of detention. The second clause would prevent boys of different ages from associating with each other. Reformatories were growing up for the senior class of juvenile offenders, and they were greatly wanted. About 25 per cent. of the offences against property were committed by young persons between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. Great allowances ought to be made for these youthful offenders, because they had arrived at an age when the influence of home were at the weakest, and when the temptations that surrounded them were greatest. The consciences of offenders of this class were not hardened, and their minds were more impressionable and more easily influenced by kindness and exhortation than at any period of their lives. He did not propose to establish adult reformatories, which was a question of a different character, but only to make some alterations in the internal arrangements of these reformatories. The noble Earl concluded by proposing the clauses in question.


said, that the reformatory system had been somewhat misunderstood by the noble Earl. Reformatory schools were voluntary institutions, and the managers being aware of the inconvenience of admitting young men to associate with the boys frequently refused to admit those who were above sixteen years of age. It might be desirable that the doors of reformatory institutions should not be shut against young men of sixteen and upwards, but the managers of reformatory institutions could not be compelled to admit them. It could not be said that young men of sixteen and upwards committed crimes in ignorance of the law, and the prison arrangements of well-managed gaols were expressly framed with a view to their discipline and moral improvement.

Amendments negatived.—Amendments made; the Report thereof to be received on Tuesday next.