§ 3.48 p.m.
§ Report stage resumed.
LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (3) of Clause 1, after "court" to insert:
shall be required to obtain and consider a report as to his home surroundings, school and work record, health and character and".
The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment seeks to insert words which will ensure that before the court sentences an offender to borstal they shall be required to obtain a considered report as to his home surroundings, school and work record, health and character. As the clause stands, without this Amendment, there are only two obligations placed on the court before they sentence an offender to borstal. The first is, that if he is under 17 the court must be convinced that no other method is appropriate (I assume that that implies that all other methods are inappropriate), and secondly they must consider the report on the offender made by the Prison Commissioners. They are the only two requirements.
§ In Committee it was pointed out that although in a majority of cases adequate information is available, there is a minority of cases—and that means a substantial number—where almost the only information which is available to the court is that which relates to the offence and not to the offender. It is to protect this minority that, in our view, legislation is necessary. During the 23 Committee stage I pointed out that the Prison Commissioners' reports were frequently superficial and practically valueless; that only 6 out of 100 prison medical officers have psychiatric qualifications; that if a boy was on bail before his trial the prison officer who was reporting on him would, in all probability, never have have seen the boy; that the requirements which we ask should be placed on the higher courts had, in fact, been an obligation on the children's courts for 28 years, and that therefore in our view there could be no valid objection to this Amendment. Finally, I quoted the overwhelming decisions in favour of comprehensive pre-sentence reports by both the Ingleby and Streatfeild Committees.
§ The case for this Amendment rests on the necessity to ensure that the punishment not only fits the crime but also fits the delinquent. In other words, the treatment decided upon by the court shall be one which, having regard to the offender's health, including his mental health, his character, his home surroundings and his record at school and at work, gives the best hope of turning him into a decent citizen. For this a court must surely have reports which include the information we prescribe in the Amendment. Without it, many sentences will be a cruel mockery, calculated not to cure the delinquent but to condemn him to a life of crime.
§ In his reply the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor, said that the Government accepted the recommendations of the Ingleby and Streatfeild Committees, and that their reluctance to incorporate them in this Bill arose not, as I had supposed, because there are not sufficient probation officers or social workers to compile the necessary reports, but because the implementation of the Ingleby and Streatfeild Committees' recommendations will be part of much wider legislative provision which the Government intend to make. He objected to my suggestion that this might take years, and indicated that it was the intention to take early action. But my own view, having regard to the queue of undigested, postponed and abandoned Bills, is that we shall be extremely lucky to get such an Act on the Statute Book during the present Parliament, and there is therefore no 24 apparent reason of substance why it cannot be done now in this Bill.
§ Certainly the two particular points of objection raised by the Lord Chancellor cannot, in my view, be accepted as reasons for not agreeing to at least a modified form of my Amendment. One of his objections was that an offender might object to inquiries being made from his employers before his guilt was established. Such an objection is obviously valid and allowable, and in such a case the probation officer would report accordingly to the court. The second of the Lord Chancellor's objections was that it would impose too rigid and inflexible a procedure on the courts and their officers in a field where the exercise of discretion is highly desirable. But acceptance of this Amendment does not impose an inflexible procedure; it merely lays down the main heads of information which the court shall require before they come to the conclusion that they must sentence an offender to borstal.
§ If the Lord Chancellor refuses to accept this Amendment then, in my submission, he must say which of these heads of information are not essential. Is it the boy's health, or his home surroundings, that we should not, or need not, know of? Surely we must know whether a boy has parents, if they are living together or if their influence is for good or bad? Is it not important to know what a boy's school-master or his employer thinks of him? They may have had an opportunity of observing him for years under ordinary conditions and of forming an opinion about his character and possibilities. I think that their opinion is likely to be important.
In accordance with the promise which he gave in Committee, the noble and learned Viscount has been good enough to write to me. But I confess that my last state is worse than my first, because I found his letter most disturbing. He says that:
the nature and extent of the information required by the court will vary from case to case, and it is preferable for the count to decide on the information required and how it should be obtained.
That is tantamount to saying that the present unsatisfactory position is to remain unaltered. The material on which decisions are based will therefore vary
not only from court to court, but from case to case, and even from magistrate to magistrate. We are not attempting to say what decision the court should make, but we are trying to indicate the kind of information they ought to have before they come to a decision. Surely that is unanswerable. The noble and learned Viscount also tells me that:
our common objective can and should be achieved without legislation.
But if the change is to be only administrative, what becomes of the promise given in Committee that the Ingleby and Streatfeild recommendations were to form part of much wider Government proposals for changes in the courts? If that does not mean legislation, then what does it mean?
§ In this matter I am forced to the reluctant conclusion that what we have been given so far is not answers which carry the implication of constructive action, but reasons for inaction. I hope your Lordships will agree with me that it is intolerable to send young persons away from home without finding out about their background. I think that we must agree to put an end to these "misfit" sentences, and to achieve this the courts must be supplied with the information they need. I think that in this Bill, now, without waiting some years, we can, by accepting this Amendment, ensure that the right kind of information may be supplied. I hope that your Lordships will say that it should be. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 9, after ("court") insert the said words.—(Lord Stonham.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT KILMUIR)
My Lords, I am sorry that my attempt to deal with this matter by correspondence has not been as helpful as it was intended to be. But I am anxious that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, should understand that we believe that the recommendations which are relevant to this matter can largely be implemented by administration. I should like to develop that point. The House may remember that on the Committee stage I had three grounds of objection: first, that any mandatory requirement of this kind would unnecessarily letter the courts; secondly, that it would create a pressure for pre-trial inquiries which the accused might not de- 26 sire and to which he would be reluctant to consent; and, thirdly, that the terms of the particular Amendment imposed on the courts too specific a requirement as to the nature of the reports.
I want to go back to what I said, and to the point to which the noble Lord has referred: that the Government have accepted the recommendations of the Streatfeild Committee, which means that they fully endorse the view that every sentence should be based on comprehensive information about the individual offender. They are not convinced that it is necessary to give effect to this by way of a statutory provision binding the courts to adhere to a prescribed procedure. There is nothing in the Streatfeild Committee's report to suggest that they contemplated that their recommendations in this respect should be implemented by a rigid statutory mandate to the courts. The many recommendations of the Committee in regard to reports to the courts visualise a flexibility of procedure which can be achieved only by administrative arrangements. The nature and extent of the information which it is necessary that the courts should have will vary from case to case, and it is preferable that the courts should have freedom to decide in each case what information is required and how best it may be obtained.
Nevertheless, I want to assure the noble Lord that the Government are already preparing to take all necessary action with a view to bringing to the notice of those concerned the recommendations in Part B of the Streatfeild Committee's Report, and to facilitating their implementation. The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, needs no reminding that Part B is the relevant Part here; Part A deals with the actual arrangements for the courts. Practical arrangements will have to be made to enable the wide range of information which the Streatfeild Committee thought desirable to be made available to the courts in all the cases where the Committee thought it appropriate. I hope that the noble Lord will appreciate that; and I hope that I, in turn, have understood the view of the Committee correctly. But it seems to me that they themselves recognise that the part to be played in these arrangements by the police and the probation service 27 and prison governors will need to be carefully co-ordinated.
As soon as it is possible to make satisfactory arrangements, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary will issue the necessary instructions to those whose task it will be to prepare reports for the courts, and the courts will be given full information about the service they may expect, together with encouragement, if indeed that is necessary, to take full advantage of it. The Government fully appreciate the desirability and importance of bringing these new arrangements into force at the earliest possible opportunity, and I can assure the noble Lord that there will be no avoidable delay.
So, my Lords, one may conclude that the objective which we both desire, of a procedure for providing the superior courts with adequate information of offenders, should be fully achieved in a reasonably short time. There is good reason to believe that, with the improved administrative machinery and the clear guidance given by the Streatfeild Committee, the superior courts will be fully equipped to decide what information is necessary to assist them in the consideration of the individual case and to obtain it. I think that this is really the synthesis between the two views on which the noble Lord was troubled: the Government will, by administrative action and by the course I have outlined, indicate the methods by which the wide range of information which the Streatfeild Committee thought desirable will be available, but it will be for the court in each case to decide how much information they need in dealing with the individual case.
The Government are confident that this is a matter which can and should be left to the discretion of the courts, in the sense I have stated, and that it would be a mistake to bind them by too rigid a statutory procedure which might not be appropriate in every case, for the reasons which I dealt with more elaborately on the Committee stage. I therefore ask the noble Lord to believe that we are just as anxious as he is that the information should be available and that we shall deal with the matter by administrative action. I do not think he will have anything to complain about or 28 regret in the information that is available to the courts.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount for his further reply. As I gather the sense of his remarks, it is the Government's view that the Streatfeild recommendations cover all the information, or the heads of information, that we ask for in the Amendment. The Government are satisfied that that information can be made available to the courts by administrative action, and that there is no need for legislation on the point. Finally, it is for the courts themselves to decide (and I agree) what information they require in respect of a particular offender. What we have been very anxious about is that information on these heads should be available if required, and that the courts ought to satisfy themselves on those points. If the Lord Chancellor assures us that the Government are taking early action in this matter, then I am quite satisfied, and I ask your Lordships for leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 4 [Detention of offenders aged 14 to 20]:
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (4) after "training" to insert "or a previous term of detention in a detention centre". The noble Lord said: My Lords, the object of this Amendment is to prevent the award of a second sentence of detention. When we discussed this point in Committee the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, promised, without, of course, giving any kind of assurance, that he would look at it again. I am therefore moving this Amendment now, in the hope that, on reflection, what I regarded as the noble Earl's somewhat contradictory arguments on Committee will have been found insufficient to sustain the Government's objections, and that they will now accept the Amendment.
§ It is common ground that the detention centres are designed to administer a short, sharp shock, and that the treatment succeeds with two boys out of three, provided they have had no previous institutional experience. It is also common ground that the results are very poor—at least, comparatively poor— 29 with boys who have had one dose and are sent back for more. If the first treatment does not succeed, then the second treatment is not much good. The Government recognise that it is useless with a certain type of boy, because the courts, other than in exceptional circumstances, are not allowed to send to detention centres boys who have already been sent to borstal or have received a prison sentence of not less than six months. So that if the short, sharp shock does not work, it is useless, and perhaps positively harmful to try it a second time.
§ Despite this, to me, quite unanswerable reasoning, the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, seemed quite undeterred by the prospect of a second detention centre sentence, and even visualised the possibility of a third sentence. Leaving aside the fact that a third sentence would be manifestly useless, I would ask your Lordships to consider the practical implications. The Bill fixes a cumulative upper limit of nine months for the maximum, cumulative sentence which anyone can serve in a detention centre. In a later Amendment we confidently hope to persuade the Government to reduce that nine months to six months, but let us for the moment just consider the cumulative maximum of nine months. With boys over 17, the individual sentence will be anything from three to six months. Assuming, my Lords, that six months is awarded the first time, what earthly use would it be to send the boy back to a detention centre for another three months, which is the maximum which could then be awarded, when the first sentence of six months had obviously failed to have its effect? It must have failed to have its effect, for otherwise he would not be in trouble again.
§ Assuming, on the other hand, that three months has been the first sentence, and again it has failed to effect a cure, the court would be almost obliged to sentence for a period of six months, bringing it up to a total of nine months. I do not think that anyone in his senses would believe that if the first short, sharp shock of three months had failed, then three such three-month sentences would be likely to succeed. That is certainly the logic of the argument which the noble Earl put forward when he visualised the possibility, not merely of two but perhaps of three such sentences.30
This Amendment is not an argument against detention centres: it is an argument against their misuse. We want detention centre places available for those boys who are likely to benefit, and who are described in the Prison Commissioners' Report for the year 1957 as
boys with a more or less substantial criminality, not due to deep-rooted personal factors or seriously adverse home conditions, for whom detention is the first experience of any form of institutional treatment.
They are the boys who are most likely to benefit. They are the ones that we want to see sent to detention centres. We do not want the detention centre places cluttered up, as it were, by lads who have been there before; lads in whose cases it has not worked, has not had any effect, and who commit an offence again and get sent back; the kind of lads who do not appreciate the value of the short, sharp shock. I do think that that is quite sound reasoning, and I ask the Government themselves to show their belief in the value and effect of this treatment, in which I certainly believe, in certain circumstances and with the right boys, by accepting this Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 4, line 20, after ("training") insert ("or a previous term of detention in a detention centre").—(Lord Stonham.)
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said that I promised to look into what he said during the Committee stage, and I assure him that all his points have indeed been looked into. I must also ask him to remember what I said in my reply to him on Committee stage. I emphasised that it must be remembered that when the Bill is fully implemented the power of the courts to impose short sentences of imprisonment will no longer exist. Of that, of course, I know the noble Lord is fully aware. Detention will then be the only form of short custodial training that is available to the courts for such offenders. If the courts are discouraged from imposing a second sentence of detention, as the noble Lord would like to see by his Amendment, in cases where they think only a short term in custody is appropriate, then the offender will be pushed up an escalator of punishment into a longer, indeterminate sentence of borstal training. That would be the result if the noble Lord's Amendment were carried.
31 My Lords, there is no intention that the forms of punishment dealt with in this Bill should be awarded progressively. It is therefore essential to enable the courts to impose a second sentence of detention on a youth whose record or current offence does not justify a longer, indeterminate sentence. We believe that there is no difficulty expected in dealing with boys who have been in detention centres before. It may be necessary in certain cases to ensure that they do not go back to the same centre, or it may be that, in the light of experience, we shall have to reserve certain centres for certain types of second offenders. But, my Lords, detention centres already deal with youths who have had previous institutional experience. Out of an intake of 375 at one of these detention centres, only 66 were, in fact, first offenders. I will not weary your Lordships with the remaining statistics, but they were by no means all first offenders. Now the provisions in the Bill already fetter the discretion of the courts, and it is not reasonable or necessary, we feel, to impose a further limitation on their discretion to impose what is the least serious of the sentences of custodial training which will be available to them.
In paragraph 35 of their Report, the Advisory Council made it clear that they considered that trouble or disruption might be caused in detention centres by youths who had spent some time in institutions similar to borstals or young prisoners' centres. That is true. But youths who have spent a long period in institutional custody are less likely to respond to the shorter form of training at a detention centre—that, indeed, the noble Lord has specifically mentioned. He also mentioned the success rates. Of course, the success rates of detention centres are very much higher when dealing with first offenders. I am certain, however—and I am sure the noble Lady opposite will agree with me—that it is quite easy to deal with good criminals. It is the bad criminals—or, in the case we are talking about, the lads in detention centres, who have insisted on going wrong a second time—who are very much more difficult to deal with, and naturally the success rates with them are not so high. I think that extends into every branch of life where 32 a certain amount of discipline is required.
The Advisory Council recommended that, save in the exceptional circumstances now dealt with in Clause 4, such a youth—that is, the youth who has spent a long period in institutional custody—should not be sentenced to detention. The objections, though, to having in a detention centre a boy who has been in another detention centre are nothing like so strong. It is true that the Prison Commissioners will, on occasion, be able to give useful information about a boy's response to a previous sentence of detention, and where a court is in doubt whether to sentence a boy to detention or to borstal training, the Commissioners' report on the boy's likely response to the two forms of training will be very helpful to them. But there will be many cases in which it is clear at the outset that the longer sentence—the borstal sentence—will not be justified. I want to assure the noble Lord, as I am certain he knows, that if the court is in doubt, it has power to remand a particular case and can inquire into the record of the boy concerned. But we feel that that is not necessary in every one of these cases where a second case of detention is considered. Therefore, my Lords, I regret that we cannot accept the noble Lord's Amendment.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am sorry the noble Earl cannot accept the Amendment. Also, it did not appear to me that he really replied to the points I made—for example, the one where a boy has already had six months in a detention centre. In that case, what is the earthly use of sending him back for three months if he committed another crime when he came out? It seems to me that the principal difference between us—I hope I am not doing the noble Earl an injustice—is that he, or the Government, places greater emphasis on the importance of punishment, whereas I feel that the greater emphasis should be placed on the importance of cure. That is why I feel that a second sentence of detention is a waste. I am not suggesting that the boy should be punished again—of course not. What I am suggesting is that if another form of detention is to be used, it should in most cases be borstal. I quite appreciate that if the short treatment has not worked, 33 then obviously a longer treatment has to be tried, with more teaching or education provided, from a longer-term point of view. I fully accept the implications of what the noble Earl has said.
The entire purpose of the Amendment, really, is to try to prevent not merely waste of places in a detention centre, but waste of opportunities for turning a delinquent into a decent citizen. They are the two important ways, and the second, of course, is the far more important of the two. It seems to me a sort of easy way out, when so many places are crowded, for a court to say: "All right, we will send him to a detention centre again if he still has a little of his nine months' possible maximum still not worked out". But if the boy goes there and is dealt with in that way, it does him no earthly good at all. This is a matter to which we shall have to come back, perhaps in a year or two's time when we have had a little more experience. I am sorry that the Government cannot accept the Amendment now, because I think it is the right view to take.
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission I should like to answer the noble Lord with regard to the nine-months point he mentioned. I thought I had made it quite clear to the noble Lord that our reason for sending the lad back a second time is that he may not have committed a serious enough offence to make it necessary to send him to borstal. On the other hand, that offence may be perfectly serious enough, in the circumstances as they exist now, to send him to a short term of imprisonment, and much of my remarks is directed to the undesirability of sending young offenders to prison. We believe that is wrong. The Bill is built around that concept, and therefore it seems right that if a lad, having left one of these centres, slips off the rails (he may not slip off the rails for two years or more; the noble Lord knows well that there are the junior centres and the senior centres, and the lad may be committed to a junior centre, go on with his after-care, and so forth, for a year or two, and then slip off the rails) again, he will then have to go to a senior centre if he is over the age of 17. But he may not have committed a serious enough 34 crime to warrant a long term at borstal. That is the reason why we believe it should be possible for the courts to administer yet one more short sentence. If that is not successful, of course it will make for a very different situation. However, I was most anxious that the noble Lord did not feel I had not answered the particular point about the nine months.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl, but what he has said has confirmed the view I formed: that, in the view of the Government, the punishment is the more important part, because the noble Earl said that the boy may have committed another crime of a more serious nature. My own view is that it would be much better if we administered our penal system all the time with the idea of awarding that punishment which will offer the best chance of redeeming the prisoner or the offender, not the punishment which will provide the certainty that he will suffer the most. There, I think, lies the essential difference between us, and that is why the noble Earl cannot accept this Amendment. Because I feel quite strongly about it, and because I do not wish to waste the time of your Lordships' House, I will not withdraw my Amendment, but I will not divide the House.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ 4.18 p.m.
LORD STONHAM moved to add to the clause:
() An order under this section shall not be made in respect of a female.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is an Amendment about which, I must tell your Lordships at once, we feel very strongly indeed, and we hope that we shall get a better answer from the Government than we had last time. We desire the Government to agree that there shall be no detention centre for girls. It is understandable that those of us who move Amendments in Committee, or on Report stage, are frequently far from satisfied with the replies that we get from the Government, although we can usually see some substance in the Government's arguments. However, I confess that never in my experience have Ministers been so completely at sea as were the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor and the noble Earl, 35 Lord Bathurst, when they attempted to uphold the Government's decision to provide a single detention centre for girls, one unhappy "Dothegirls Hall", in Staffordshire.
§ The noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, actually managed to convince himself that an Amendment which expressly states that there should be no detention centre for females was put down in the interests of sex equality. If he cares to turn to column 490 of the OFFICIAL REPORT he will see that that is a true assessment of his point of view. I assure him that it was not put down in the interests of sex equality. In my view, it was he and the Lord Chancellor who want a perverted kind of sex equality when they insist that it would be unfair to the boys if a girl who has committed a crime which warranted a short sentence of imprisonment is not sent to a detention centre. Our utter abhorrence of this idea does not spring from any mistaken sense of chivalry. We do not wish to absolve bad girls from punishment or treatment. Our objection arises from the fact that the very small number of girls who merit short sentences are usually abnormal and disturbed girls, for whom the "short, sharp shock", "knees-bend" treatment of a detention centre is useless, criminal and wrong. We say that the Government's proposal is stubbornly contrary to all expert opinion, including that of their own Advisory Committee.
§ I hope that the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor will bear with me while I examine some of the statements which he made on Committee, because I am sure that he does not want us to leave this important point until all aspects have been fully and carefully considered. The first point is that, in our view, short sentences are unsuitable for girls. The few who need help need a much longer period of treatment and, above all, different treatment. The noble and learned Viscount put, as the first of his reasons for justifying a detention centre for girls, that as short-term imprisonment for boys is being abolished in favour of treatment in centres away from adult persons, similar provision must be made for girls.
§ I think that the assumption that short-term detention for girls is suitable, wherever they may be held, is one that 36 the Government must prove, because those closely associated with the treatment of delinquent, wayward and abnormal girls are unanimous in saying that, when girls get into trouble, the underlying reasons are much more serious and the treatment much more difficult than in the case of boys. It is almost unknown for girls to indulge in the sort of mischievous naughtiness and showing off to their companions, which eventually qualify a boy for a term in a detention centre.
Dr. Grunhut, the only one who has carried out systematic studies of the effect of detention centres, has been quoted with approval by the Prison Commissioners, the Home Office and Government representatives. He has declared:
The original proposition is confirmed that punitive detention appears suitable for boys with a more or less substantial criminality not due to deep-rooted personal factors or seriously adverse home conditions …
There are exceeding few girls who come before the courts who, if they seem to deserve to be sent away from home, are so little disturbed as to fall into the category I have just mentioned. Furthermore, there is the difficulty of the very small number of girls in this category.
§ I know that the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor is aware of the smallness of the number, but I do not think he could have analysed this figure, at least before Committee stage, and I should like to do so now. The number of girls sent to prison for periods up to six months in the years 1957, 1958 and 1959, taken from the Reports of the Prison Commissioners, were as follows—in 1957, 98; in 1958, 156, and in 1959, 147. If we analyse the sentences during 1959, out of the total of 147, 16 girls received 7 days or less and 76 received between 7 days and one month—that is, a total of 92 out of the 147. We should not be sending those girls to a detention centre. What of the 55 who are left? Of those, 42 were sentenced to between one and three months' imprisonment and only 13–9 per cent. of the total—were sent to prison for between 3 and 6 months. Therefore, the first important point is that at any one time during the year, out of 147 girls, only 10 or 12 would be in prison in the whole country. That is the number for which it is proposed we should provide one detention 37 centre for girls right in the middle of the country.
As to their suitability, I would remind your Lordships that many of them are young prostitutes. The noble and learned Viscount was obviously unaware of this during Committee stage, because he said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 81). col. 496]:
I cannot imagine a bench of magistrates using a female detention centre for prostitutes.
I will give figures for the same three years. In 1957, out of a grand total of 98 girls under 21 to be sent to prison, 21 were sent for offences connected with prostitution—that is, something over 21 per cent. In 1958, there were 74 prostitutes out of a total of 156 girls who went to prison. In 1959, there were 83 prostitutes out of 162—that is, over 50 per cent. And one must assume that they were all sent to prison for less than three months, because that is the maximum sentence in the Street Offences Act.
§ If the Government's prime aim in establishing a detention centre for girls is to use it for those who at present are being sent to prison, and if the noble and learned Viscount is sure that magistrates would not send prostitutes to the detention centre, then we are entitled to know, first of all, what alternative form of treatment the Government propose to provide for young prostitutes who are sent to prison, and, secondly, whether it would not further wipe out the necessity, even on economic grounds, for this one central detention centre for girls. I put forward the proposition that the total number would be between 10 and 12; and now, if we halve that, because half, or more than half, are prostitutes, we are talking about a detention centre for five or six girls culled from the whole of the country.
As the noble and learned Viscount knows, I am President of the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene, which was founded some 90 years ago by Josephine Butler, an Association which has had great experience throughout that time in dealing with prostitutes. I have in my hand a copy of a letter which the Association sent to the Home Secretary on June 9. I would assure the noble and learned Viscount that I did not write the letter or know that it was being written, but it is appropriate to this discussion and I should
like to quote it. It says, among other things:
This Association is especially interested in the treatment of young prostitutes, and in this connection would draw your attention—
that is, the Home Secretary's attention—
to the Report of the Committee on Children and Young Persons (the Ingleby Committee), paragraphs 98 to 102. In particular the Association endorses the statement: `that approved school training would not usually be a suitable form of treatment for young prostitutes' and `supervision by probation officer … seems the most promising possibility'. Later, it is stated: `Almost all adolescent girls sent to approved schools (whether as offenders or not) have a history of sexual immorality'.
Your Lordships may remember that on the Committee stage, the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, speaking from his experience, said much the same thing. The Association's letter continues:
If approved schools be unsuitable for these young prostitutes, the Detention Centre would, in our view, be even more so. The prevalence of sexual immorality in many of the other girls brought before the courts, would also make them unsuitable for the 'short, sharp shock' type of treatment.
The number of girls involved is very small compared with that of boys, and there is no reason to think that the existing measures of probation, approved school and borstal are inadequate to meet present needs.
Moreover, the existence of a detention centre might encourage magistrates to send girls there who, in the view of the Association, would benefit from probation.
I feel that that is a view which should carry weight with the Government; and in view of the observations of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor in Committee about prostitutes, I hope that this will compel the Government in relation to the figures, to look at this problem in a new light. With respect, I cannot believe that they have looked at it in this way before, otherwise their proposals would not have been made.
§ I would suggest that the best solution would be to provide two small units, more or less in association with, but kept completely separate from, the two new women's prisons which are planned by the Commission. One of the particular reasons for that suggestion is that there is at present a great shortage of experienced social workers in prisons, and it might be difficult to obtain the services of these people to visit an isolated 39 small detention centre for girls; but because some of the best psychiatric workers in prisons are already in posts at such places as Holloway, our only women's prison, which when these two new prisons are ready will be closed up, these experienced people would be in a position, without any travelling at all, to treat these girls and give them the kind of treatment they need.
I want to say a word or two about what I must with respect regard as the Government's tragic misconception of the régime of this girls' detention centre. The Lord Chancellor, in Committee, spoke of [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 83), col. 495]:
the first stage of inculcating the hard virtues"—
discipline, cleanliness, tidiness and obedience, which he said
may well be a good foundation on which to develop the soft
remedial and constructive training. The noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, said [col. 491] that the detention centre would
embody all that is best and most successful from the borstal establishment and, at the same time, will instil the will power for the girl to improve herself and discipline herself ready to go to an outside life.
Just as, earlier on, my noble friend Lady Wootton of Abinger invited the noble and learned Viscount the Leader of the House to go to Wormwood Scrubs, I would invite the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, to come and meet some of these girls, as I have, because I am sure he would no longer believe that what I have already described as the "knees-bend treatment" would inspire in them the will power to improve themselves.
§ The fundamental assumption is wrong. The assumption of the Government is that you can in a few weeks have a "first stage" of instilling obedience to discipline, and then into the remaining few weeks cram what would in effect have to be a whole borstal training. The Government must recognise that with difficult girls you cannot achieve fundamental retraining within a few weeks; and such retraining is far more likely to be achieved in borstal or, if this is not suitable and removal from home is desirable, in a probation hostel. Then, again, the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, suggested that the establish- 40 ment in Staffordshire would be all right, because many of these girls have no parents or perhaps just foster parents. It merely makes the case worse if you are going to hide such young people away in that way.
§ The last point I want to make, to which I would particularly draw the attention of the Lord Chancellor, is the question of the figures of girls of under 21 convicted for the first time and sent to prison. In 1957 there were 41 first offenders out of a total of 102 sent to prison; in the next year there were 94 out of 165; in 1959 there were 62 out of 162—and the numbers of those first offences bears a close relationship with the numbers of girls under 21 who were sent to prison for non-payment of fine. So I think it is a reasonable assumption that most of the first offenders were fine defaulters. It seems to me that if we give magistrates the "Go ahead" with a girls' detention centre they will soon fill it with first offender fine defaulters, which I think would be a deplorable and disastrous circumstance.
§ I believe that the figures I have quoted establish conclusively that the number of girls who have to be detained at any one time is about twelve; that half of that number, at least, or more, are young prostitutes, for whom separate facilities, as I think we all agree, must be provided; and that on economic grounds it is fantastic to suggest running a girls' detention centre. On curative grounds, or desire for cure, I would say that it is criminal to have such a detention centre, because these girls are disturbed and maladjusted and the kind of treatment visualised in the ordinary detention centre would from the start be absolutely certain to fail. I ask the Government, even if at this stage they cannot accept this Amendment, to say that these figures, which I am sure cannot possibly have been considered, will be looked into thoroughly, in the hope that on Third Reading they will be able to accept our point of view and give us an assurance that this proposed blot upon our penal system, a girls' detention centre, will be dropped. I beg to move.
Page 4, line 32, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Stonham.)
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
My Lords, I much regret that the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, is not in her place at the moment, for I think it will be agreed that she and I have not been diffident in trying to get equal civil rights for both sexes; and I think it will also be agreed that our efforts, and those of others who have worked with us, have not been wholly unsuccessful, as our presence here to-day and that of noble Ladies opposite is perhaps sufficient testimony. But I hope it will not be supposed that in adopting this attitude we are denying that there are differences both of character and of temperament between the two sexes, and I am sure we should much deprecate the circumstances if those differences did not exist, a view which I am sure will be shared by noble Lords opposite.
Anyone who has seen a detention centre cannot, I think, feel anything but extreme repugnance for the idea that some comparable institution should be established for girls. I say "repugnance" because the kind of treatment which a detention centre envisages is so entirely hostile to the disposition and temperament that we usually find in girls, even in girl offenders. We could, I think, overcome that repugnance if we thought it might be effective or appropriate, but so far no argument has been given from the Benches opposite which seems to us to suggest that such a treatment would be effective or appropriate. More than once in the course of these debates I have been impressed by the academic nature of the arguments which have been served up to us from across the Floor.
It seems to me that noble Lords opposite have little idea of what goes on in the heads of the young people for whom they are trying to prescribe treatment under this Bill. If they have very little idea what goes on in the heads of the young men for whom they are trying to prescribe, it seems to me that they have no idea what goes on in the minds of young women for whom they are now proposing to provide a detention centre. They have used the academic argument that this Bill proposes to do away with short sentences of imprisonment, and that if there are not to be short sentences of imprisonment for boys then there must not be short sentences for girls. The 42 Bill does not do away with short sentences of imprisonment: it does away with intermediate sentences, and it substitutes for them an indeterminate sentence, which may be fairly short. In any case, as my noble friend Lord Stonham has said, short sentences are not called for in the case of young women offenders. Very rarely can they be appropriate, except for the technical offences, the kind of offences which, I was going to say, have been fabricated under such Acts as the Street Offences Act. For offences that call for any period of six months or slightly less, girls are seldom suited.
The girls who come before the courts do not correspond to the kind of youth for whom the detention centre is said to be successful. It is said to be successful for the boy who has a good background but is undisciplined and irresponsible, but who is likely, when he is made to come to terms with himself, to grow up a perfectly satisfactory citizen, without anybody doing very much about it. When the girls come, however, they are usually people whose maladjustment goes much deeper, and for them a mere matter of a disciplinary six months is totally inappropriate. Moreover, it is clear not only that the type of offender for whom a detention centre may be appropriate does not exist for young girls, but also that Her Majesty's Government have not the faintest idea what these centres are for. In the circumstances, I would strongly urge that they leave the matter alone, that they adopt the course suggested by my noble friend Lord Stonham, and create appropriate units, possibly within the actual prison system, where the girls would have the benefit of longer help and skilled guidance.
§ 4.44 p.m.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords, I should like to support what the noble Baroness has said. I must confess that since I have been in this House I have found it difficult to convince noble Lords opposite that there is any difference between a man and a women, except physiologically and biologically. I take it that, before two years ago, they were absolutely convinced that, intellectually, women were far inferior to themselves, because the noble Baroness and I have been allowed to penetrate these august precincts only during the last two years. 43 On the subject of the reaction of women to punishment, I shall never forget the answer of the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, when I raised this. He looked at me sweetly and said, "But little girls pull off the wings of flies just as little boys do." I felt how utterly naïve that was; and I felt that the noble Lord's education, so far as the reactions of women to society was concerned, had certainly been neglected.
The fact is, as has been said before, that crime is not a field in which women excel. Indeed, the prison world is a man's world. The kind of appalling thing that happened at Dartmoor last night cannot possibly be imagined in the world of women. As I have said before, the woman criminal is a person who is friendless. The man criminal is often an individual who is regarded with some respect, affection and envy by cronies of his. The girl is an isolated creature. She loses her friends; she has denied the conventions, and her home is sometimes closed to her. But if there is a friend, then it will be found in her home. She is receptive to kindness and to example. She certainly resents regimentation; indeed, she is much more individualistic than a boy, who sees himself always identified with a gang, preferably a gang which loves violence.
As I said before, the reason is simple—it is a physiological reason. The woman's approach to life is often determined by her maternal instincts; and the girl, however she has offended against society, want to fulfil herself biologically in precisely the same way as any other woman—to have a home, a husband and children. Yet it is now proposed to regiment her, to put her into detention centres, and completely to ignore the fact that her approach to life is different and her reaction to treatment is different. I have said this before, but I am afraid that my words fell on stony ground. I repeat some of the things I said before only in the hope that there are some noble Lords opposite who have daughters, and who will agree that the approach of their daughters to life, so far as the conventions of society is concerned, is entirely different from that of their sons, and that when they find they have to discipline their daughters they have to think very carefully precisely 44 what the right approach should be, and how she should be handled. If this is so in our own circles, and if we know that it is so difficult, why on earth are we determined to regiment these poor, friendless girls, and think that by so doing we shall create the perfect human being who will fit into society? I ask noble Lords to listen to what the noble Baroness has said, and to vote for this Amendment.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, I had not intended to enter into this discussion, but I felt impelled to do so by the speeches of noble Ladies opposite. They have accused noble Lords on this side of not knowing anything about girls, not knowing anything about how to treat them, not knowing their particular characteristics, and so forth. I think that is going a little far. There are quite a number of us on this side who have had a great deal to do with girls in the course of our lives. I have had a long experience of dealing with girls in various organisations. Of course they are quite different from boys; of course their reactions are quite different in many ways. I think the noble Baroness who has just sat down said that girls are never found in gangs or with gangs. I regret to tell her that in some of the rather difficult towns with which I have been associated gangs are not confined to one sex, but sometimes include girls. It is a pity, I agree, and I am not putting this forward as something we want to see. But it does happen.
The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has given a great many figures, and they are, of course, perfectly correct. The number of girls who are found to be criminals is very small compared with the number of boys. The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, who has had more experience than any of us, knows that they are on the whole much more difficult to deal with from the point of view of reform than are boys. But the assumption that this experiment, this new plan, of having something in the nature of a detention centre for girls, means that it is going to be exactly like the boys' detention centres seems to me quite unjustified.
I have visited, as I have no doubt many Lords have, a number of detention centres. I think I have been to three 45 and they are the best detention centres, and they are designed for the "short, sharp shock". I am sure that we have a great many exceedingly good women in the prison service and in connection with girls, and I cannot see why a curriculum quite different from the curriculum of the boys' detention centre should not be very valuable indeed in dealing with girls. I cannot see why it should not, for instance, as the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, has just said, give girls the example of kindness, of gentleness, of good behaviour, and so on. I do not see why the warden or staff of detention centres for girls could not do just that very thing: give to them a vital example, which they probably have never had or seen in their lives, of how people act and behave and of how to give help to the unfortunate—and unfortunate these girls are. I do not see why they should not help them to understand better and more about life, and have what they probably have not had, and that is, gentle treatment and leadership. To presume that this centre is going to be regimented exactly like a boys' detention centre is a pure assumption. Nobody knows. The curriculum has not yet been announced. This is an experiment. The curriculum has not been decided.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords, may I ask, if nobody knows, how the noble Baroness can be so dogmatic?
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
I am only being dogmatic in answer to the noble Baroness's assumption that it is going to be exactly like a boys' detention centre. I am speaking without the book. I am not in the Government, on the Front Bench, or in the Home Office to know exactly what the plans are, but I think the assumption that anybody who is in the Home Office or anything to do with the Prison Commission or with the handling of offenders has so little imagination and so little understanding of the quite different problems of girls from boys is really—and I have had a great deal to do with the Home Office over many years—not justified. They are exceedingly well-intentioned people who are spending much of their lives trying to meet these great problems.
While I am sympathetic to the suggestion of Lord Stonham, I think there are methods which could be possibly worked out; but that it should be ruled out 46 simply because noble Lords opposite have thought that we on this side have no imagination or ideas to make something quite different between the boys' and the girls' detention centres is, I think, unjustified. I am sure that if some of the people I know in the Home Office and in the service generally are given the opportunity of planning this, it will be something very enlightened, and may prove to be a great success. At any rate, variations are required in the treatment of girl offenders as well as in the case of boy offenders, and we have not, I am sure, found the real way to make them. If this scheme is a success I think we shall be very glad that the opportunity for a different kind of training is going to be given to girls as well as boys.
§ LORD MANCROFT
My Lords, may I be allowed, as a mere man, to add a few words from the limited experience I had at the Home Office? In the course of that service, I visited between 30 and 40 penal establishments, both here and overseas, and I was rather shocked to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, spoil what might be a good argument by a really quite gross overstatement of the case. Anybody who has been to any of the female penal establishments in this country and compared the system there with that in the male establishments will know that what the noble Lady has been arguing is, quite frankly, contrary to the facts. The Prison Commissioners for years have tackled this problem of male delinquency and female delinquency—
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me to interrupt him? What he is saying has no relation to the Amendment. He said that my noble friend was arguing contrary to the facts. I do not think the noble Lord was in the Chamber when the discussion started. We are not talking about women's penal establishments in general; we are talking only about the one narrow point that there should not be detention centres for girls as there are already for boys.
§ LORD MANCROFT
I am well aware of that and I am addressing myself to the remarks of the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, who has given the impression, I think, that noble Lords on this side of the House are quite unable to 47 distinguish in their minds the difference in the problem of dealing with female offenders as against male offenders. That is how I understood her remarks and it is with those remarks that I cross swords. If I have misunderstood her I will, of course, apologise and withdraw, but that is what I understood her to say. I should like it to be known to your Lordships on this side of the House that, from my limited experience, what the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, said, is not so.
§ 4.56 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said that I was at sea with my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor. I can only say that my noble friend and I have agreed on all points all the way through the Committee stage and on the Second Reading, and I can think of no better person to be at sea with than with my noble and learned friend, whether it be in terms of the legal subjects that we are dealing with to-day, or in any sort of rough and tempestuous sea. I must refer to the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, and my statement with regard to flies' wings which she took somewhat out of context. I think that if the noble Lady would read what I said about flies' wings she would see that I was explaining to people on the other side of the House that the sort of girl who would pick off flies' wings and who is not checked would be the sort of girl who was going to land up in a prison establishment under the present legislation. We consider that girls of that sort should no longer go to prison, and because of that the detention centre for girls will be instituted. The noble Lady and in fact all the noble Lords who have spoken have said that there are only a small number of young girls—that is, girls of under 21—in prison. That is quite true. In fact there are something in the region of 25 to 30 young girls in prison for one sort of crime or another, and I am not talking now with regard to prostitution.
This brings me to the sort of crime that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, mentioned at the beginning of his speech. We envisaged the sort of crimes which 48 are to be punished—and it is punishment—by these centres to be of certain types: larceny, motor car offences in driving and that type of thing. At present, as I have said, crimes of this sort can be punished by the girl being sent to prison. In future this will no longer happen. Sex equality was mentioned, and if the noble Lord and noble Lady would look at the Report, Page 8 on the Treatment of Young Offenders they will see that that is where my statement with regard to what the noble Lord called sex equality comes from. The Advisory Council on the Treatment of Young Offenders who reported thereon consider that if boys should no longer be sent to prison, there was no reason why girls should be sent to prison. If your Lordships will read a little further down, in paragraph 19, I agree that the Advisory Council would have liked to see these establishments in selected women's prisons, which indeed the noble Lord and his two noble friends would like to see also.
§ LORD STONHAM
Would the noble Lord allow me to interrupt? He gave a figure of 25 young girls in prison. Am I to understand that at any one time 25 young girls are in prison, apart from young prostitutes? If so, what is the basis of that information, because according to my information the number is much less?
I say that 25 or 30, something like that, are in these prisons—I am referring to young girls, apart from those convicted under the Street Offences Act and so forth. I shall be coming to the question of prostitutes in a moment or two. That is the reason why the centre will hold something in the region of 25 people. That is the whole point of fixing the size of the centre at that number. The Advisory Council said that they would have liked these inmates to be accommodated in wings of selected women's prisons, as the noble Lord and his two noble Lady friends have said. We have found that is not practicable—even not possible. With the highest advice, the advice of the sort of people that my noble friend has mentioned, to whose advice the Home Office pays great attention, we believe that one centre where they can all be marshalled, 25 or 30, will be of very much greater benefit to these girls. They 49 will have expert instruction. They will have experts to look after them, and they will have the individual attention which it would be quite impossible to give in the circumstances of a women's prison, no matter how much goodwill may exist to provide such facilities in the women's prison. That is the reason why the centre is going to be set up and that is why we depart from the advice of the Advisory Committee. But I assure your Lordships it is on the highest and most excellent advice that this decision has been made.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
If I may interrupt (I do not think I have been unduly loquacious so far), may I ask what this highest advice consists of and (where it comes from?
It would probably be very unfair for me to say whom this advice comes from, but my noble friend has already described to your Lordships the sort of people who are available in the Home Office. Their advice is probably the finest advice with regard to women's prisons and borstals for girls and young offenders that there is available in the world; and certainly they have great experience. I have not had the experience my noble friend has had in visiting all these establishments, though I look forward to it in the future. But I have had the privilege and pleasure of talking to some of these people, and one can appreciate haw much they know and what wisdom they have in regard to the treatment of young offenders in particular.
The noble Lord and the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, laid great stress on the fact that these will be abnormal cases of distress and that the persons will be maladjusted. I do not believe that will necessarily be so. They will be perfectly ordinary cases, girls who the court believes are not suitable for a long sentence in borstal, or who would have gone for a short period in prison were the court so allowed to send them. I do not think many of these are going to be seriously maladjusted or abnormal. By and large they are going to be the bad girls, girls who insist on misbehaving. I do assure noble Lords that this curriculum will have nothing to do with the curriculum that is in existence in the boys' organisation, and I thank my noble friend Lady 50 Elliot of Harwood for bringing out that fact. Indeed, the curriculum has not yet been finally decided. If any of your Lordships have particular ideas I am sure they will be considered. The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, suggested courses in hairdressing and manicure.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I must protest. I think the noble Earl has entirely misunderstood me. That is the last thing I would have suggested. Perhaps he has made a mistake.
Perhaps it was her noble friend, but certainly hairdressing and so forth was talked about at length on the Committee stage.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I am very strongly in favour of skilled hairdressing, but I have never been able to see any connection between this and good civic behaviour.
The noble Lady has put her finger upon it. It is good civic behaviour that will be taught in these establishments. How it will be taught, and what subjects will be taught, is very open, and any suggestions your Lordships may make would of course be carefully studied.
The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and others of your Lordships have mentioned this problem of prostitution. Of course, wherever delinquent women are concentrated in a mass, in a group, such as in a prison, wherever older girls, and younger girls for that matter too, are concentrated—for instance in borstals or such centres as we are discussing—there is bound to be the problem of prostitution. Many of those who are sentenced, whether to borstals or approved schools or to these centres, may already be prostitutes, though they may not necessarily have been sentenced for prostitution. It is really one more reason why we believe that these particular girls, for whom the court decides that a short sentence is the most suitable punishment and training, should be together in one place where they can get the individual attention and skill that is necessary to look after them. I doubt whether long sentences, be it in borstal, in prison or anywhere else, is a great cure or penalty for prostitution. I daresay that noble Lords opposite think likewise; but there is no doubt 51 that there will be this problem, as indeed there is in all institutions where delinquent women or senior girls will be.
The noble Lord mentioned the distance from parents. It is a problem that this centre is bound to be some distance from parents. But no doubt many of these girls will have unsatisfactory homes, or possibly no parents at all. On the other hand, there are ways and means by which parents and friends can go to visit this detention centre, and they will be used to the full extent. But we believe that what is important is to have a really well-organised, well-run and happy centre, which will be possible where there are a small number grouped together under one roof, as it were, and under expert care. We believe that the advantages which that will give will far outweigh the distance parents or friends may have to travel to visit them. I think I have covered all the points.
§ LORD STONHAM
Will the noble Earl deal with the question of separate accommodation for prostitutes?
I have said that there are bound to be prostitutes among the girls in the centre; there are bound to be in borstal and women's prisons. But I am saying that those girls who are now in prison are already with prostitutes in any ease. They may well be prostitutes in their own right, as it were; or they may have been led towards it before they went in or after they go out. That is one more reason why there should be a single centre where these girls will be able to have the expert care and almost individual care, which it is not possible to give in small centres of two or three girls—or even only one girl—as occurs in women's prisons to-day. This question really has been looked into most carefully by my right honourable friend and the experts in the Home Office, and we have concluded from this advice that we cannot accept the noble Lord's Amendment.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, as I indicated when I moved the Amendment, we regard this as a most important Amendment, and your Lordships will appreciate that I find the noble Earl's reply extremely disappointing. Indeed, 52 with respect, I must say that it fell far short of the case that was put up and does not really attempt to answer it. The noble Earl commenced his speech by saying that he agreed entirely with the noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack; but then almost in his last words he informed the House that prostitutes would be kept with the other girls. It will be within the recollection of the House that on the Commitee stage the noble and learned Viscount assured us that he could not conceive of magistrates sending any prostitute to a detention centre.
If I may intervene, does the noble Lord mean girls sentenced, for one reason or another uncle the Street Offences Act, for prostitution or girls sentenced for larceny or a motoring offence who might happen to be prostitutes?
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I made my position perfectly clear, and if the noble Earl had really listened, the figures I quoted were the total number of sentences in the whole country in six months, of girls under 21. They were round about 150 a year. Then I quoted the figures within those figures the girls who were sentenced for prostitution. That does not mean they may have stolen something and in fact also be prostitutes. In fact, I said that almost all the girls who are in prison have some sexual abnormality or give evidence of sexual tendencies. But I am sure that there is no difference between the noble and learned Viscount and myself upon this point: he was firmly of the opinion that no bench of magistrates would send a girl to a detention centre for the offence of prostitution. I have now proved to your Lordships by official figures that half, or more than half, the small number of girls under 21 sent to prison are, in fact, sentenced for the offence of prostitution. Therefore, the point—and it is a valid one—which I put to the noble Earl, and which he has not answered, was: if the Government intend to keep these girls separate from the petty pilferers, what arrangements are going to be made for them?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Would the noble Lord allow me to intervene? I have been following his figures most carefully. I do not think he gave us 53 the number of those sentenced for prostitution, say over a month, who therefore would be within the detention centre purview. Obviously, there must be a number of short sentences. I do not want to dogmatise out of an hypothesis, but I should have thought that a number of the sentences for prostitution would be so short that no one would ever think of sentencing those concerned to a detention centre.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Has the noble Lord the figure of how many sentences there were for prostitution? It cannot be for more than three months. How many of them were over a month?
§ LORD STONHAM
I did make that point, that the prostitute cannot be sentenced to more than three months—indeed, I said so. But the figures for sentences of from one to seven days were 18; and from seven days to one month, 72. That is not for prostitutes alone, but for all girls under 21. The figures, shall we say, from one day to a maximum of three months for all girls, were, in 1959, 46—in fact, all but 13. Therefore, it is a valid point that half of these girls were sentenced for the offence of prostitution. If the noble and learned Viscount will read to-morrow's OFFICIAL REPORT it will be seen that I asked the rhetorical question: would the first 90 go to a detention centre? Obviously, they would not. They would not have time to change their clothes.
I used these figures to point out how fantastic this idea was, and the noble Earl has not really attempted to answer the point. That is why I interrupted him, and asked what was the basis of his figure that at any one time there were 25 girls in prison, including prostitutes. My own opinion is that at any time, including prostitutes, there are only about 12 or 15 in prison, and if you divide that number by two it destroys the case on economic grounds for a single detention centre.
I have made all these points. I am sorry that the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, took exception to anything I said. I want to assure her that I did not at any time say that noble Lords opposite knew nothing about girls. I should not dream of saying a 54 thing like that. What I meant to imply was that it is obvious that the Government, apparently with the approval of noble Lords opposite, thought that the idea of "knees bend" treatment in a detention centre was equally suitable for girls as for boys. I think it is absolutely unsuitable, because they are mostly maladjusted and require a longer period. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, that conditions and treatment in our penal establishments for women are of a different order entirely. Anyone who has been to Holloway knows that. But that really was not the point we were on. The point we are on is whether this very small number of girls, disturbed and maladjusted, should be put in one centre in the heart of the country, or whether they should be dealt with in separate units in new prisons.
I was most disturbed both by the fact that the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, was able to assure us, as I thought, that the treatment was going to be so different, and nothing whatever to be compared with the treatment in a boys' detention centre, and that the noble Earl was also able to give that assurance. Then he went on to say that the curriculum will have nothing to do with the curriculum in a boys' detention centre, and that the curriculum has not yet been decided on. How can it be said that it is going to be so different if it has not been decided?
Then the noble Earl said that the advice on which the Government were proceeding was advice on the highest possible level. I accept that; indeed, I accept that therefore that advice must be unanimous. When he was asked by my noble friend Lord Longford to disclose who it was who advised on the highest possible level; who gave the advice which is directly contrary to the advice which has been given by the Home Office's own Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders—
With the greatest respect, the reason why it is contrary—it is the last paragraph which I mentioned, paragraph 19—is that the Prison Commissioners, who are responsible for running the prisons, have found that it is almost impossible to run them from small units within the women's prisons and that it is more economic and, they believe, would be more beneficial to the girls, to 55 concentrate them in a group. That is the reason why this Bill differs from that advice.
§ LORD STONHAM
I really cannot accept that. The statement that I made was a statement of fact. In paragraph 19 of the Home Office's own Advisory Council's Report on the Treatment of Offenders, it says this:In 1957, only 98 females under the age of 21 were sentenced to imprisonment for six months or lessIt goes on:It would clearly be impracticable to set up a detention centre for such a small number of offenders"—and that is what I have endeavoured to prove in my speech. But I would say that that is very high-level advice. Mr. Justice Barry was Chairman of the Advisory Council. The members included Sir Charles Cunningham, Permanent Secretary to the Home Office; Sir George Benson, so long prominent in these matters and a prominent member of the Howard League; Sir Laurence Dunne, who was the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate; Baroness Elliot of Harwood herself, and Mrs. Xenia Field. I know of very few women who have been more constantly visiting people and who know about people more than does Mrs. Field. We could go down the list. I would say that it was not merely an extremely distinguished Committee, but a high-level Committee who were very experienced
|Airedale, L.||Lindgren, L.||Stonham, L. [Teller.]|
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Longford, E.||Summerskill, B.|
|Amwell, L.||Lucan, E. [Teller.]||Terrington, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Ogmore, L.||Walston, L.|
|Henderson, L.||Pethick-Lawrence, L.||Williams, L.|
|Iddesleigh, E.||Rea, L.||Wise, L.|
|Latham, L.||Silkin, L.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Lawson, L.||Sinha, L.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Craigmyle, L.||Hampton, L.|
|Ampthill, L.||Crathorne, L.||Harris, L.|
|Ashton of Hyde, L.||Denning, L.||Hastings, L.|
|Atholl, D.||Derwent, L.||Hawke, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Elliot of Harwood, B.||Jellicoe, E.|
|Bathurst, E.||Falmouth, V.||Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.)|
|Bethell, L.||Fortescue, E.||Lansdowne, M.|
|Birdwood, L.||Fraser of Lonsdale, L.||Lothian, M.|
|Bossom, L.||Fraser of North Cape, L.||Lyle of Westbourne, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Glentanar, L.||MacAndrew, L.|
|Clwyd, L.||Goschen, V.||McCorquodale of Newton, L.|
|Colville of Culross, V.||Gosford, E.||Mancroft, L.|
|Conesford, L.||Hailsham, V. (L. President.)||Margesson, V.|
§ indeed in these matters. I would describe their advice as top advice.
§ I feel that, unfortunately, the Government have failed to answer our case. I assure the noble Earl that I am not attempting to score points. We regard this as a matter far too serious and far too important to attempt that. I really believe that if the Government persist in their proposals they will be making a tragic mistake and one which will have tragic consequences on a number of helpless and maladjusted girls. The noble Earl was at pains to assure us that it would be totally different. I am quite sure that the Government intend it shall be totally different; after what we have heard it would be impossible for it to be otherwise. Then why do they still persist in calling it a detention centre? Why cannot it be called something else, for Heaven's sake! and not have this detention-centre aura stuck to it? Why cannot the Government accept this Amendment? —and if they have one or two places that are going to be different, then call them something different, and do not stubbornly persist in refusing us our Amendment. I hope that, even now, they will not persist in refusing and force us to divide, but will think about it again so that on Third Reading, perhaps, we can have this changed.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents 23; Non-Contents, 51.57
|Merrivale, L.||Perth, E.||Spens, L.|
|Milverton, L.||Ravensdale of Kedleston, B.||Swinton, E.|
|Newall, L.||St. Oswald, L. [Teller.]||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Newton, L. [Teller.]||Somers, L.||Twining, L.|
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD moved, after Clause 4 to insert the following new clause:
§ Detention Centre Staffs
§ ".The Staff of each detention centre shall include a Warden and one or more sub-wardens or house-masters."
The noble Earl said: My Lords, I hope that we need not spend too long on this Amendment, but some of us are very much concerned with the staffing of the detention centres. I would say that at the top level, so far as I could judge, they are understaffed. On the last stage, on May 16, the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, was kind enough to correct an impression he had given on the previous evening and he explained the staffing of the detention centres. These were the words he used [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 81), col. 481]:
There are a warden and sub-warden, who are, of course, responsible for the centre.
We are proposing that the staff at the detention centre shall include a warden and one or two sub-wardens or housemasters. Therefore, on the face of it, the noble Earl should have no difficulty in accepting this Amendment, because it simply appears to give effect to what he says the system is.
§ Whilst I cannot speak of many detention centres, I can speak of one with some little knowledge, and I feel that the account given by the noble Earl last time on the advice supplied to him—the highest advice., if I may use the expression which was used just now—was liable to give a false impression. I know the noble Earl is the most candid of men. It is true that in the detention centre I know best there is a warden and there is a "No. 2", who is in fact called a deputy warden; but this "No. 2" is simply the chief officer who has had the words "deputy warden", as I understand it, added to his title. Before that there was a housemaster who was a sub-warden at the same time, and he was removed on the ground that the staff did not require him. After his departure, at some point 58 or other the chief officer, who I suppose might be compared to a regimental sergeant major or a company sergeant major, was then created, so to speak, a deputy warden in addition to other duties.
§ When we talk of a warden and sub-warden, we have in mind, presumably, a warden of governor's rank, which is in fact the rank of the warden, and a sub-warden of the rank of assistant governor. Now I do not want to take too long over this, but I should like to ask the noble Earl whether am right in thinking that the sub-warden here is not even of the rank of assistant governor. I would say that when we talk of a warden and sub-warden, we mean by a sub-warden someone whose duties consist of being a sub-warden and nothing else, and who is of assistant governor rank. Can I put that to the noble Earl? Am I right in thinking that the sub-wardens in these detention centres at the present time are not even of the assistant governor rank? Perhaps the noble Earl could tell me that now.
After Clause 4, insert the said new clause.—(The Earl of Longford.)
My Lords, I must thank the noble Earl for giving me notice of the fact that he was going to put this question in moving his Amendment this afternoon. I think I must make it quite clear again what the actual position is with regard to these detention centres. Now there is a warden, who is in charge of the establishment. He is assisted by a chief officer, to whom the noble Earl has been referring, and who acts as his deputy. That chief officer is the senior disciplinary officer in the establishment—after the warden, of course. He is obviously junior to the warden, but he is senior to everybody else who may be there. So although he may not be, as I think the noble Earl called him, a deputy governor—
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
No, I did not. I asked whether he was of assistant governor rank, and I gather the answer is "No."
He may not be, but he is certainly the immediate senior to all the others on the staff except for the warden. He could become a governor at any time. It depends on the sort of man he may be. After the chief officer—that is, the second-in-command, who is in every way—
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I do not want to press the noble Earl about the rest of the staff, or to take him through them.
If the noble Earl says that, then it is not necessary for me to say any more with regard to his Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I do not want to stop the noble Earl, but I do not want to take him through the rest of the staff, with which I am not concerned.
I will not go through the remainder of the members of the staff, but I want to assure the noble Earl that the assistant officer is in every way a proper person to be the second-in-command of a detention centre. I think that in the course of his speech upon this Amendment the noble Earl was insinuating that perhaps, in certain circumstances, he was not a suitable person. I think that that would be an unfair inference to draw about these men, who have considerable responsibilities and who, I assure the noble Earl, are carrying out their duties to the best of their ability and, in every respect, in the best possible way. I hope that I have made it clear to the noble Earl what the situation is.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I am afraid the noble Earl has made it as clear as mud. I am afraid I find his answer—and I say it with great deference, because I know he is acting on advice—100 per cent. unsatisfactory. Of course there is bound to be a "No. 2." It is obvious that there is somebody under the governor who is senior to the others. I certainly was not insinuating that an individual officer in any detention centre was of an unsuitable type or character. If one went to a company and found that there was a company commander and nobody higher than a sergeant, you would not say that the sergeant was a man who was himself unsuitable, but you might regret the absence of platoon commanders. I am 60 bound to say this to the noble Earl, who I think is exceptionally popular on these Benches: that I think the advice given to him last time was far from right when he said that there was a warden and a sub-warden. That is not correct. I should have thought that the noble Earl would have realised by to-day that he in fact, in words, misinformed us last time, and would have expressed his regrets for doing so.
It may be that I have used a wrong term by saying "sub-warden", but I think "sub-warden" in either way means a deputy, does it not? I hope I did not in any way mislead your Lordships in saying that the housemaster principle does not apply in these detention centres. That was the whole point of my intervention. I hope I did not mislead your Lordships in any way by implying that the sub-warden was not a suitable second-in-command of such a centre. I can assure your Lordships that this chief officer, as the second-in-command, is in every way the sort of man who can take full charge, and who does indeed take full charge when the warden is away on leave or in other circumstances.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am sorry to be unkind to the noble Earl, but I must say that I think he was badly briefed last time. His advisers tried to be too clever by informing us that there was a warden and a sub-warden when there was not a warden and a sub-warden, and I do not think they should have given him that advice. However, these are administrative matters in the last resort. We shall continue our discussion on detention centres, and no doubt in the course of debate will raise the issue again. I know that the noble Earl would never come down here and not be completely candid, but, as I say, I think he has been badly assisted by his officials. In the circumstances, while I withdraw the Amendment, I hope that this particular form of words will not be used again.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 5. [Detention of defaulters aged 14 to 16]:
§ 5.41 p.m.
§ LORD LATHAM moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "or to a remand home". The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment is related to 61 Amendment No. 7 and to Amendments Nos. 35 and 36. Its purpose is, first, specifically to prevent remand homes from being used as places of punitive detention for children or young persons who have failed to pay fines imposed by the courts, and, secondly, to terminate the use of remand homes as places of punitive detention. These Amendments, and the purposes 'which they seek, were impressively argued, I think, on the Committee stage, and the noble and learned Viscount who leads the House will recall that he promised that the matter would be looked into. Moreover, he went so far as to say that the last thing he would want to suggest is that a remand home is a suitable place for punishment. That, my Lords, is the whole point. The use of remand homes is being, as it were, distorted, from the growing diagnostic facilities and purposes for which they are being used, into places of punitive detention. I hope that, as a consequence of the consideration which the noble Viscount promised, he may be in a position to hold out some hope that the purposes of these Amendments can be met by the Government. I beg to move.
Page 4, line 38, leave out "or to a remand home".—(Lord Latham.)
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, as the noble Lord has said, we discussed this point on Committee stage, and I am sorry to say that I must tell the House that our further consideration of the arguments put forward by the noble Lord has yielded the same result. The particular Amendment before the House deals with fine-defaulters. The purpose of these Amendments is to preclude the committal to a remand home, in default of payment, of a person who has attained the age of 14 years but is not yet 17 years. Under Clause 5, such a person would be committed to a remand home if the period of committal were to be one month or less, and to a detention centre if the period were to be longer than one month, special provision being made in Clause 6 for the defaulter who at the time of committal is already detained in a detention centre on some other ground.
The point on the defaulters is that they do exist as a small class, and the question is: what are we to do with them? There are good reasons, as I frankly 62 conceded on Committee stage, against the use of detention centres for committal for short periods. The Advisory Council deprecated it on the ground—and here I quote their words—that:The training programme of a centre would be disrupted if the centre had to receive a number of offenders with sentences of varying lengths, many of them very short, who were committed to custody not with a view to training but as a sanction for the enforcement of a payment.The detention centre, therefore, is an unsuitable place. But there are stronger, and I should have thought quite obvious, reasons for not using prison for those under 17 years of age, though that sanction is retained, on the. Council recommendation, for defaulters aged 17 to 21. What the noble Lord has not done, and what we have also been unable to do (so I do not complain about it), is to find a suitable alternative to what is proposed in this Bill. It is all very well to say that the remand home is unsuitable. So is the detention centre; so is prison. What is to be done with them? The number of defaulters under 17 is too small to warrant the setting up of special institutions, as seemed to be suggested when the subject was last debated What, then, is to be done? The least unsatisfactory solution is what we propose, and certainly no other alternative has been suggested.
Perhaps I ought to add a word about the other Amendments, Nos. 35 and 36, because owing to the way in which things fell out on Committee, although I answered the particular Amendment which corresponded to the present one, as the other two were not moved I did not have an opportunity to answer them. They, of course, deal not with fine-defaulters but with substantive offenders. The first of them would delete the new version of Section 54 from the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, contained in the Fourth Schedule; and the second Amendment, No. 36, would repeal the existing version of the section entirely. As it stands, Section 54 of the Act of 1933 empowers a court to commit to custody in a remand home for not more than a month a person under the age of 17 who, if he were an adult, could be sentenced to imprisonment for an offence or committed to prison for a default. Of course, it is necessary to re-write that provision in order to take account of the changes effected by the Bill, and in 63 particular the fact that the committal of defaulters aged 14 and under 17 to detention centres or remand homes will be governed by Clause 5.
My Lords, there was a division of opinion in front of the Ingleby Committee as to this particular matter. There were some people who gave evidence who wished to see the power to use the remand home for this purpose abolished, on the ground that the presence of children sent to remand homes for punitive detention interfered with the more important responsibilities of remand homes for studying offenders sent there by the courts for observation. That was one point of view, and it is the point of view reflected by the noble Lord opposite in these Amendments. On the other hand, other witnesses in front of the Ingleby Committee took exactly the opposite point of view—namely, that the power should not only be retained, but should be increased by increasing the maximum period of detention to two, or even three, months. As it happens, the Ingleby Committee took a middle view. They found that the courts had used the power sparingly and with discretion. Detention centres, even when they become generally available, will not provide for those under the age of 14. The Committee considered that the power could appropriately be used in exceptional cases in which residential training was not required. They recommended that it should be retained, subject to the existing restriction that no other method of treatment is suitable. The Government have accepted that recommendation of the Ingleby Committee, which is set out in paragraphs 316 and 317 of their Report.
This is not a matter about which one need take too tragic a view. There is a certain amount of argument to be put legitimately on the other side in both cases. After considerable consideration, we decided to continue to accept the advice of the Ingleby Committee, and with the balance of choice as at present the advantage in relation to the fine-defaulter remains in favour of using remand homes for this purpose. For those reasons, we cannot accept the noble Lord's Amendments, but I hope he will not feel that we have treated them otherwise than with great respect.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, speaking for myself I agree with the noble and learned Viscount that on this Amendment we have to choose between two evils, and I am not wholly distressed that the Government have come down on one side. I fail to see any alternative. But we are on common ground in saying that remand homes are not the right places to use for the purpose of this clause. While I recognise that the Government have a big programme, if they are going to carry it out, in providing the right kind of places of detention (using the word in a general sense) for different kinds of offences, I would ask the noble and learned Viscount to make representations to his right honourable friend that the Government should treat as a matter of urgency the provision of suitable places for dealing with this kind of case other than remand homes.
It is not a thing that can be done straight away, but ideally some other kind of place ought to be made available. It is not a good thing that young people should be sent to remand homes which are being used, particularly by the larger authorities, for quite a different purpose. And I am thinking not only of the effect on young offenders, but also of the effect on those who are being treated in the remand homes. It is interfering substantially with the treatment other people are being given. I would ask the noble and learned Viscount if he will make representations to ensure that these cases are separated and some other provision made in due course for the cases we are dealing with under this clause.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I can speak again only with the permission of the House. Obviously, in view of the considerable balance of argument on both sides, I will ask my right honourable friend to keep this matter in his eye. But I said originally, and I think I must adhere to this part of what I said, that in view of the small number involved we cannot undertake to set up entirely new institutions for the purpose of detaining fine-defaulters under 17 and the very few who are sentenced to imprisonment for a month. I think that we have to stick to that, but in view of what the noble Lord has said and the close balance of the arguments, I will 65 certainly ask my right honourable friend to keep his mind on this matter.
§ LORD LATHAM
My Lords, in view of the assurance that the official mind will be kept open on this subject, which is a very important one, and one in which local authorities are closely interested, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 7 [Consecutive terms and aggregate periods of detention]:
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I have prepared what. I thought was a very good speech on the next two Amendments, Nos. 8 and 9, which seek to reduce to six months the time which could be spent in detention by one person, but this morning I recieved from the noble and learned Viscount a letter which convinced me, at least of one thing, that the Government are not prepared to accept this Amendment. To a lesser extent, the letter convinced me that there was little between us and I think that it would be better, in the interests of economy of time, if I continued the argument in private with the noble and learned Viscount. Therefore, I do not propose to move these two Amendments.
§ Clause 10 [Attendance at attendance centres]:
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, your Lordships will remember that we had an interesting minor discussion, on this point on Committee stage. I think that it was the noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, who was responsible for it. I think that this Amendment meets the point. The noble Earl moved in Committee to leave out the word "public" before "transport", on the ground that it appeared to preclude the court from having regard to private means of transport, such as a bicycle or family car. There was some discussion, in which my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice spoke. It is desirable to remove any possibility of doubt on this matter. The Amendment therefore proposes to substitute for "the availability of public transport" the words "the means of access available to him", which are wide enough to include all forms of transport, public or private, and the offender's ability to reach the centre on 66 foot if it is near enough to his home. This has relevance to the other proposition of the mediæval schoolmen: how many angels could balance on a point of a needle? I hope that we have balanced these two successfully. I beg to move.
Page 8, line 15, leave out from ("age") to ("and") in line 16 and insert ("the means of access available to him").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
My Lords, when I returned to the Chamber just now, I understood the noble and learned Viscount opposite to say that, after cerebration, the Government have remained exactly where they were on the previous Amendment. I should like to congratulate Her Majesty's Government on this occasion—the cerebration appears to have been fruitful.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
My Lords, since I raised in Committee the point with which this Amendment is concerned, I should like to say that I am entirely satisfied with the Amendment which the noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack has been good enough to propose. I think that it is an adequate solution of the problem. The only point on which I differ from the noble and learned Viscount is with regard to angels dancing on the point of a pin. This was never propounded by the mediaeval schoolmen. It was a gibe at the medieval schoolmen, invented, I believe, in the 17th century.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD moved, after Clause 10 to insert the following new clause:
§ Training centres
§ ".—(1) The Secretary of State may make by statutory instrument regulations providing for the establishment of training centres, that is to say places in which persons—
- (a) who are not less than fourteen but under twenty-one years of age; and
- (b) in respect of whom probation orders have been made,
§ (2) A statutory instrument made under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."
§ The noble Earl said: My Lords, I rise to move Amendment No. 11, to which many of us, certainly on these Benches and I know also in all parts of the House, attach some importance. It provides for the establishment of nonresidential training centres to which young offenders may be sent for a period of hours each day. I will say a word or two before I sit down about the relationship of this Amendment to the next one, No. 12, but I should like to concentrate mainly on the Amendment before us.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I think it would be for the convenience of the House if at any rate the debate should be common to both Amendments, so that we should be free to discuss the content of each. If the noble Earl wishes to divide on them separately, that, of course, would be another matter.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I am perfectly happy with that suggestion if it is understood that after the discussion on Amendment No. 11, if that is negatived, we are still in a position to continue the general discussion in relation to Amendment No. 12. Would the Leader of the House confirm that that is his idea?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
Nobody in this House can stop anybody from continuing the discussion, except in exceptional circumstances.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I have in mind that in my time in this House the only noble Lord about whom it has been moved that he should no longer be heard suffered that fate at the hands of the noble Viscount, and I was only frightened that it might come my way also.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
We must see how we get on. This is, in essence, the same as the Amendment which on the Committee stage received what the noble Viscount the Leader of the House 68 described as [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 81), col. 546]:the almost unanimous and obviously enthusiastic support of those … presentIn fact, there were a great many noble Lords and noble Ladies present on that occasion—whether it was because a debate on corporal punishment was about to follow, I do not know—and I can only hope, as this is a matter in which such interest is taken, that we shall fill up before we close. It may be that some noble Lords may need to "fill up" before I close, as my remarks are not going to be particularly brief; but I have kept somewhat silent hitherto.
Apart from the noble Lord, Lord Amwell, who was concerned with rather different issues, all who followed me in the debate last time and spoke before the Minister spoke strongly in favour of the Amendment. The all-Party solidarity was most remakable, as was the expertness of the speakers. The noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood (to whom I shall venture to refer again and who I am glad has been able to rejoin us) the noble Baroness, Lady Ravensdale of Kedleston, and the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, from the Conservative Benches; the noble Lord, Lord Rea, the Leader of the Liberals; and from this side of the House, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth and the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, were all equally warm and emphatic, and others showed their sympathy in various ways.
I had come down to the House last time hoping that the Government would accept the Amendment, at any rate in principle, but if they did not accept it, we were resolved to divide; and our resolution in that last respect was further fortified by the general enthusiasm to which I have already referred and which was greater and more widespread than even I had expected. It seemed wrong, however, to divide the Committee after the noble Viscount, Lord Hail-sham, had spoken, mainly for two reasons. First of all, the noble Viscount, who is not only an eminent lawyer himself but has access to lawyers and draftsmen who are outside my reach, insisted that even if a clause to the general effect that we had in mind were to go into the Bill, the words chosen were not suitable for the purpose.
69 I have tried, in the meanwhile, to find better words to say the same thing, although I have no doubt that even these words can be picked to pieces; they always can: what would draftsmen be for, so to speak, if they could not point to the errors of the amateur? But it is snow nearly a month since the Committee stage, and I must assume that either the Government are in a position this time to draft for us what we want to put into the Bill, or else they consider that something of this kind should not go into the Bill at all. While, therefore, I am once again ready to accept any better form of words that the Government may suggest to give effect to our idea, I am sure that to-day those of us who are convinced that a proposal of this sort should be included in the Bill must not be prevented by drafting difficulties from recording our conviction.
Secondly, the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, used a weightier argument in persuading me and those with me last time to hold our hands. He said that for various reasons he had not been fully prepared for his "ordeal". He could not say, therefore, definitely on that occasion whether the necessary legislative framework for a proposal of this kind could be put into the Bill before Report. It was clearly right, in those circumstances, to give him and his colleagues time to consider whether they were ready and able to put something into the Bill at this stage. Well, they have had time, and the Government have not put down a clause themselves: possibly they are waiting for a further expression of opinion in the House this afternoon. But, whatever their attitude, those of us who believe that a clause of this kind should go into the Bill cannot be expected to hold our hands any longer.
We come, therefore, to the crucial question whether a legislative framework making possible the establishment of these centres should be included in the Bill this afternoon, as we suggest, or whether it should not. If something of the kind should go into the Bill, the second point that arises is whether Clause 11 or, failing that, Clause 12 is, broadly speaking, the right to put it.
I am not going to labour the merits of the proposal, if only because I have spoken at some length about them both on Second Reading and on Committee 70 stage. I hope that noble Lords who may not have testified at the same length will offer their views this afternoon about the merits of the proposals; but, as I say, I have spoken about them twice, and twice, the House may think, is enough. I will not again recite the outstanding support that the proposal has received in various quarters outside the House. The noble Viscount himself was good enough to mention last time the support of the Magistrates' Association. The probation officers have not discussed this officially, so far as I am aware, but it has the public backing of the General Secretary, Mr. Frank Dautry, whom I personally would rather have on my side in this field than any other man in the country.
We are all delighted that the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, is presiding over a sub-committee of the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Young Offenders, a sub-committee which has been set up especially to consider this kind of proposal. The noble Baroness made no secret last time about her own view of the merits of the principle involved. No one about to conduct an investigation ever gave so strong a lead to her colleagues, and I think she is to be congratulated for that. I think she said that the Amendment was an admirable one. One cannot speak more plainly or generously about an Amendment than that. The noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, seemed to promise as much from the Home Secretary. He said: [OFFICIAL REPORT, VOL 231 (No. 81), col. 544]:I think it would be fair for me to say that the Home Secretary will be at least as sympathetic to the proposal as my noble friend".And by "my noble friend", I believe he referred to the noble Baroness. Therefore, knowing as we do the enthusiasm of the noble Baroness, and knowing that the Home Secretary will be at least as sympathetic, we can expect a good deal from the Home Secretary. In that quotation I do not want to tie the noble Viscount down to any particular details, but I think we can say that he guaranteed great sympathy from the Home Secretary, at least for the general idea.
That being so, what reason could the Government find if they declined to put something in the Bill? And, as I say, they have not come forward to-day and put 71 anything in. The noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, himself very fairly recognises the advantage of putting something in if it were at all possible. The House will recall that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, pointed out in the discussion the grave disadvantage of waiting until the Advisory Council had dealt with the proposal, because, as the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, reminded us, or suggested, even if the Advisory Council and the Home Secretary both came down in favour of the proposal, we still might have to wait another five or ten years for another Criminal Justice Bill.
The noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, acknowledged that there was considerable force in that point. He said: [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231, (No. 81), col. 544]:It is always better if one can take advantage of an existing Bill. I am sure the Home Secretary … will also see the advantages of utilising what legislative time is available in this Session.So we may take it that in the Government's recent thinking they have been sympathetic, not only to the idea of what is sometimes called the Henriques plan, but also to the possibility of including it in this Bill. I repeat, what possible reason can there be for not putting something to this effect in this Bill?
We appreciate that there is a great deal of work for the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, to get through. She herself mentioned questions of accommodation and personnel, and the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, laid stress on the curriculum and what was actually going to be taught there. The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, said last time [col. 541]:I hope that the noble Lady's sub-Committee will do fundamental new thinking and try to make the character of these new institutions fit the needs of the young people who attend them.I would point out that the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, was supporting the Amendment.
There is, however, no reason at all why an enabling clause should not be inserted in the present bill in advance of the findings of the sub-committee, even though the training centres themselves will naturally not be set up until 72 the sub-committee have reported and the Government have considered their report. Indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, herself intervened last time to say that she did not suggest that this Amendment ought to be delayed until her committee had reported. The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, thought he had extracted from her an indication that she would support the Amendment, but I am not sure that she went as far as that. But she did say in her intervention that she did not suggest that this Amendment had to be delayed until after her committee had reported.
There seems to me one point of substance, and one only, about which the Home Secretary might reasonably be in some considerable doubt when drafting a clause at this stage: should the plan for training centres be specifically linked with probation as it is linked in Clause 11, or should this plan for training centres be tabulated without being specifically linked with probation? That is what is proposed in the other Amendment on this subject, Amendment No. 12. In Amendment No. 11 there is this link between centres and probation, and I explained at some length last time the nature of that link and how it is proposed that the connection will work out. I certainly do not rule out the possibility that in time to come the training centres might be used more widely than this. As I ventured to say on Second Reading, they seem to me to offer us the vision of a new approach to penal problems, but in view of all the difficulties that confront us, in the first place in regard to accommodation, personnel and so on, it still seems to me desirable to put the proposal forward in the concrete way in which it has been worked out by Sir Basil Henriques, adapting the Boston plan for British purposes, and to link it specifically with probation.
If I am told that the Government would prefer to keep their hands free until this question of the link with probation has been more fully explored by the Advisory Sub-Committee—I can speak only for myself—I think that most of us who support this Amendment would be ready to see Amendment No. 11 withdrawn and Amendment No. 12 adopted instead, under which the whole question of the relationship of probation with centres would be left open. But if the Government will not accept either 73 Amendments No. 11 or No. 12, then I am sure that all who believe in this plan should go all out for Amendment No. 11, which gives effect to the Henriques plan, as that great social reformer had worked it out. If Amendment No. 11 is beaten, we must see about No. 12, but at this stage I do not want to consider defeat. I put No. 11 before your Lordships, repeating what I have said earlier, that I believe a scheme of this sort offers a brighter ray of hope than anything we have seen in the penal world for many years. I beg the Government and the whole House, in earnestness, to accept this. I beg to move.
After Clause 10 insert the said new clause.— (The Earl of Longford.)
§ LORD LINDGREN
My Lords, my noble friend has moved this Amendment so clearly, and his speeches in the debate of May 15 were so extensive and clear, that there is very little more that one ought to say. There is one point, from my experience in the petty sessional courts, to which I wish to draw attention in this Amendment, and that is that it gives me, too, an opportunity to pay tribute to the excellent and devoted service which probation officers are now performing. They are overworked—I was going to say, "and underpaid", but that is not for me to say.
It is, however, foolish of us not to recognise that at the moment, because of the burden that is placed upon them, the amount and extent of supervision they can exercise is not at all satisfactory—certainly not as satisfactory or as effective as the probation officer would desire. It is most effective and most satisfactory where there is full co-operation, with a person placed on probation and, in particular, between those juveniles whose parents are co-operating with the probation officer. But where in fact there is a greater degree of discipline, where there is a requirement for a greater degree of training, then the probation officer's work is by no means as effective as it could be, and should he. That makes it difficult for the courts when there is a decision to be made as to whether or not a person shall go to borstal or to a detention centre, or whether an extension of probation should be allowed. More often than not, in 74 the courts with which I have been associated, one has hesitated because the individuals themselves require a greater degree of discipline and greater degree of guidance than the probation officer has time to give.
Therefore, I hope that the Government will agree to establish these training centres in order that while the person is on probation, or while the officers are carrying on with young offenders of 15 or 16 while they are also carrying on their daily task of work as one of the community, the offenders can have this compulsory further education and guidance which will keep them to a degree of discipline which will be effective—more effective, I believe, than sending to a detention centre or to borstal. Therefore I support the Amendment.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, I supported the noble Earl, Lord Longford, with great enthusiasm on the Committee stage when this question of these training centres was first brought forward by noble Lords opposite, and I remain just as interested and as enthusiastic about trying to make a scheme of this kind as when we had the debate on the Committee stage. Unfortunately, one can never get ahead as quickly as one would like. Through circumstances over which I have no control, the first meeting of the Committee will be only towards the end of next week, and therefore I cannot report to your Lordships' House that we have already begun meeting. All I can say is that I have been in close contact with the secretariat at the Home Office, and have roughly sketched out a plan which I must naturally put before my colleagues before I know whether or not they think this is a good idea. Therefore, I cannot give you any further information, beyond saying that we shall get down to work as quickly as we possibly can when the secretariat is ready.
As the noble Earl, Lord Longford said, Amendment No. 11 differs from No. 12 in the question of whether or not these training centres shall be subject to a probation order. That is one of the problems and one of the subjects which the Committee will naturally investigate. As I understand it, the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, is strongly 75 in favour of probation and of these centres being subject to the probation order. That may well be the right way of doing it, but I must approach the issue when we have met and discussed it with a variety of people whom we shall ask to give evidence. I have also been thinking of what we shall do about staffing these centres and, as the noble Baroness Lady Wootton of Abinger, pointed out, what kind of curriculum they shall have. I think it is going to be very important to take as wide a range of opinion as we can possibly get. I hope it will not take too long, but it will take a little time, because the kind of people we want to discuss it with are very busy and we shall have to take them as they can come.
Then there is the question of whether the centres should be paid for by the local authorities, or centrally controlled and paid for. I have not made up my mind; I do not know what would be the best way to do it. I do not know whether we can put in this Bill a clause such as contained in Amendment No. 11 which would enable one to go ahead if and when our report is accepted by the Advisory Council, because we are only a sub-committee of the Avisory Council. The Advisory Council would need to meet and accept or not our report and we should put it to the Government immediately afterwards. That will take a little time, but I hope not long, because it is a simple case, and we are going ahead as fast as possible. If it is possible to put something into this Bill which will enable us to, as it were, take time by the forelock, and be able to implement any recommendations which my Committee might make straight away, that would be a very good plan. If it is not possible, I hope that the Government will be able to make some suggestions or facilities for getting the report implemented when it comes out.
The noble Earl, Lord Longford, is quite right in saying those of us who are interested in this subject and involved in it, as I think all those who are present to-day in your Lordships' House are, are most anxious that as little delay as possible should eventuate as a result of my Committee and its findings. I can only assure your Lordships that I shall do my very best to see the thing goes 76 as speedily as possible. I should hope that we should not be held back by having to wait for further legislation. On the other hand, I realise that putting legislation into a Bill before one knows whether or not it is going to cover the necessary detail is rather an unusual thing to do, and also one which may not exactly fit the case.
I simply do not know. It seemed to me that Amendment No. 11 was the one which would fit the case, but it is also true that we have not made up our minds, because we do not know whether or not the wider aspect of No. 11, which imposes the probation order, is the right one. All I would assure your Lordships is that there is a good deal of ground to be covered; there are a great many questions to be asked; there is a lot of evidence to be collected. And if the Report is to be worth anything I think, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, rightly said, we hope to get some original ideas. Original ideas are very hard to come by. I do not know that I have any particular ideas, but I am hoping to be able to collect some people who have, in which case we shall be able to make a contribution of a new kind, inspired by Sir Basil Henriques and those who, like himself, have worked for so many years in this field, to do something new.
We have at this moment someone in the United States who is looking at the centres there which have been working for some time. I do not know whether that pattern will suit us. I have not seen the man who has been in Massachusetts; I am not sure whether or not he is home. But he has been looking at it. He is a member of our Committee, and he has been looking at the centre in Boston. Whether it will prove to be one from which we can get some ideas I simply do not know, but undoubtedly where something of this kind is working it is a good plan to get somebody to look at it and come back with his point of view. I just wanted to assure your Lordships that we shall begin swiftly, and we shall do our best to produce something in the nature of an acceptable and valuable report; and I hope that, as a result, we may be able to go ahead. If it is not possible to incorporate this Amendment in the Bill, for reasons which I have mentioned—namely that we do not yet know what in fact we are 77 going to report—I only hope that something may be granted to us if and when the Government accept our report.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I hope I do not read too much into the noble and learned Viscount's suggestion that we should have one debate and two Divisions. There are one or two things I should like to say. First of all with regard to the contribution from the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, I appreciate her difficulty in regard to the sitting of the Committee, and naturally it is impossible to know what the recommendations of that Committee will be. But I would point out that both these proposed Amendments suggest permissive powers for the Home Secretary. They do not say that he "shall" make regulations; they say that he "may" make regulations. It would appear, therefore, that neither of these Amendments is likely to be in conflict with the kind of advice which the noble Baroness's Committee may give after their detailed examination.
The one point I want to put to the noble and learned Viscount follows up what my noble friend Lord Lindgren said about the probation service. It will be within the noble Viscount's recollection that the Lord Chancellor repeated an assurance given by the Home Secretary, that the provisions of this Bill relating to after-care will not be implemented until the probation service is of sufficient strength to carry the extra burden. But with regard to these two Amendments, obviously if either were accepted—certainly if Amendment No. 11 were accepted—it would mean additional, and I hope welcome, duties for the probation service. I should hope, too, that that would not be a consideration which would in any way weigh with the Government in leaning against acceptance of this particular Amendment.
There is a difficulty, which I put at the earlier stage in the Bill, in the probation service with regard to doubts which exist with reference to any Report which may, or will, be made by the Morison Committee in respect of that service, That Committee has been sitting since May, 1959, some two years, and at present the probation service is in a position of particular difficulty because of pressure within the service to submit a 78 further salary claim in view of the delay by the Morison Committee. I wonder whether, not in replying to this particular debate, but before we finish with the Report stage, the Government would be in a position to say whether the Morison Committee is likely to be able to make an Interim Report with special reference to the probation service. If that were so, it might prevent difficulties which now otherwise seem likely to arise. I hope that the noble and learned Viscount, if not now, will be able to consider that particular point at any rate before we finish the Report stage of the Bill.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I should like to thank all those who have taken part in this debate, and particularly my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood, for telling us how she is getting on. I am not sure that what I now have to say will be particularly satisfactory to the noble Earl who moved this Amendment, but I hope that I may be acquitted of any desire whatever either to delay what may be a most desirable reform or to hide behind what he means by "drafting difficulties". I start with the same position as I had before, on the Committee stage. I think this is almost certainly a very good idea, and whether or not training centres of this kind will have quite the wide prospects which the noble Earl looks for in them, I think that they are almost certainly going to be a valuable addition to our system for treating offenders. But of course this is really an additional reason for not getting off on the wrong foot. If you are going to launch a good idea with a favourable breeze, it is important that you should get it right, because nothing is more disastrous for a good idea than that you should get it slightly wrong when you start: it gets it a bad name and then it fails for reasons quite extrinsic to its proper merits.
I start with this proposition: that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary referred this idea, about which he feels at least as enthusiastic as I do, to the sub-committee of which my noble friend. Lady Elliot of Harwood is the chairman. He did so, not in order to avoid getting things done (which I am told is sometimes the case with committees), but in order to get things done; 79 and I think that having heard from my noble friend, the House will agree that we chose the right person under whom to get things done. But, if the noble Earl will allow me to say so, drafting difficulties are of two kinds. I quite agree with his scorn for those who allow the inability to find words to express what you really want to do, to hold up action. I think it is the business of draftsmen to find words to express ideas which are clearly held. Sometimes it is more difficult than others, but after all it is their trade, and a failure on the part of Government draftsmen to find a form of words is something for which I think Governments ought to apologise if ever it happens.
But drafting, difficulties are sometimes of the other kind. You must make up your mind what you want to do before the draftsman can find any words at all, and it really is not his fault, if he is faced with a project on which policy is imprecise, if he then says, "I really cannot translate what you have said into words, because your idea is not made up of anything like concrete thoughts." I am in this dilemma upon this point; I do not conceal it from the House; it is the dilemma that I was in before, and further consideration has not really removed my difficulty. When you appoint a committee, in principle the worst possible thing you can do is to legislate in anticipation of its findings. Almost anything that you say will be to prejudice the findings of that committee. To legislate first and then to inquire by committee afterwards is not a satisfactory way of procedure. I know that the noble Earl opposite has the idea that by permissive or enabling legislation you can get round this difficulty. My difficulty is that I am not quite sure that he is right about this. I want just to put to him some of the points which give me cause to doubt whether he is right about it.
To begin with, whatever you do in the formation of training centres you are going to curtail the liberty of the subject to a quite considerable extent. The l3oston Centre, which is the main existing exemplar, curtails the liberty of the subject for between 100 and 150 hours of compulsory attendance. Can you do that by regulation? Both Amendments of the noble Earl give the Secretary of State 80 power to provide that by statutory instrument. Ought we to limit the right of liberty of the subject, in an entirely new form of penal treatment, by regulation? Ought it not to be by Act of Parliament? This may be a very good idea, but it may not be sufficiently good to justify conflicting with Magna Charta. I think one ought to think about that point carefully before one goes in for regulations limiting the right of liberty of the subject to this extent. Assume, however, that one is going to answer that question affirmatively—that is, that one is going to legislate by statutory instrument, because such is the delay in the legislative programme that it may be five years before you can legislate at all, which I think is the argument presented—even assuming that, there are still a number of decisions which I think are really most difficult to leave in the air, though if they are not left in the air it prejudices the findings of the Committee.
Take the fundamental question to which reference has been made by my noble friend and by noble Lords opposite—namely, are you, or are you not, going to tie this to the probation service? The noble Earl, Lord Longford, expresses his preference for Amendment No. 11, which does. But he says that he would take Amendment No. 12, which expressly writes into the Act that it does not matter whether the convicted person is on probation or not. But, of course, if you do one or the other you have prejudiced the findings of the Committee. My noble friend told the House that she and her Committee have not made up their minds whether it is to be probation or not probation. But if we accept Amendment No. 11, we are saying in advance that it does not matter what they think, this scheme is to be tied to probation. If we accept No. 12 we equally say it does not matter very much what she does, because the Act of Parliament will use the words, "whether or not the person is on probation". This is prejudicing the findings of the Committee.
Or take, for instance, the findings or the recommendation of the Henriques plan that an adverse report may lead to a period of actual detention. This was one of the distinctive features of the Henriques plan. It was that the offender could again be brought before the court at the end of his period of 81 training, with a report on his response to training, and be dealt with accordingly. If the report were good he would be conditionally discharged; if it were only fair he might be continued on probation; if it were bad the court might decide to sentence him to a period of custodial training in an appropriate institution. Are we going to accept that or not? I myself should be very reluctant indeed to accept that the Secretary of State ought to have power by regulation, under either Amendment 11 or Amendment 12, to make such an order, because this would hardly differ in principle from Regulation 18B. But if, on the other hand, we are going to accept it—and it may be a valuable suggestion—surely we should have put it in the Act of Parliament, and we cannot do that without anticipating the finding of the report.
Take the question which my noble friend raised. The centres may be, it is thought, centres which will be run by the Home Office under my right honourable friend, or they may be run by local authorities. You cannot really leave simply to a statutory instrument to decide whether it is going to be one or the other.
Or take the question of whether it is to extend to girls or boys. We have spent an hour and a half this afternoon arguing whether a detention centre (I think it was) was to apply to girls as well as boys. Are we going to leave it in this case to the Secretary of State and so avoid all Parliamentary discussion? If we are, we have wasted one and a half hours this afternoon. Then take the age range. I think Henriques suggested between 17 and 21. The Boston Centre has taken the radically different one of 12 to 17.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I beg your Lordships' pardon; at any rate, a different range. Is that going to be left entirely in the air, or is it to be left to statutory instrument? I cannot believe that this is what Parliament will ultimately decide, because I know that, whatever my noble friend decides, noble Lords opposite, and it may be noble Lords on this side of the House, will want to discuss it in the only way in which you can discuss details—namely, by amending that which the Government propose, as they are doing at this very moment. But they will not be able to 82 achieve that by statutory instrument. On the contrary, they will have to take it or leave it as a whole.
Is this a responsible or sensible way to act? This is a question I must seriously ask the House. It is not that I want to hold things up or because I am unduly impressed with lawyers' or draftsmen's points. You must, if you get the draftsman to draft anything, know what you want to achieve and how you are to achieve it. I know the enthusiasm which the noble Earl, Lord Longford, feels for this plan and what is thought by those who support it outside the House, and the very wide measure of support it has. What are we to do? I want to take the noble Earl, so far as I can, into my confidence in the matter, and I should like to make this suggestion to him, now that he has heard what I feel about this proposal. I feel that I should not be giving the House very good advice if I advised it to accept the Amendment, and I should like to ask whether he would not be prepared to consider this suggestion. There is, of course, another stage of this Bill, the Third Reading, in which in our House we can propose Amendments, so he would not have lost anything, even now, by withdrawing his Amendment. I should like to ask whether he would not care to enter into consultation with those who advise my right honourable friend, and it may be perhaps into consultation with my noble friend the Baroness who is chairman of the sub-committee.
There would be, at any rate, one of two or three possibilities. He may be persuaded that this is not, for all the arguments he has used, the best occasion or the best way to legislate. It may be, on the other hand, that he can persuade my right honourable friend's advisers that it is possible on Third Reading to put in an Amendment which will avoid the difficulties. Or perhaps he can persuade them that the difficulties which I have been enumerating can be overcome. Alternatively, I would frankly say that I myself feel convinced that, supposing he waits until Lady Elliot of Harwood's Committee has reported in due course (which will be, as I gathered from her speech, some time in the autumn), we might consider whether we cannot find legislative time next Session to deal with this matter separately from Criminal Justice but as an additional 83 piece of legislation. I know that my right honourable friend would be anxious to give Government time for this. There are more ways than one of introducing legislation of this kind, especially legislation in which more than one Member of your Lordships' House outside the Government has taken an interest and has played a responsible part.
I want only to put that suggestion before the noble Earl. I hope he does not think that I have been unsympathetic in this matter. But what I feel is that, in the form in which he has proposed this very wide power of legislation by statutory instrument, it is not in the end going to give a fair chance to what may be quite as good an idea as many Members of the House believe and as I myself am disposed to think.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I do not think anybody could have called the noble Viscount unsympathetic. I thought that he stretched himself, so to speak, to the uttermost to show good will and to see whether we cannot continue in harmony together without anything so rough and rude as a Division. There was one point of importance which he raised which surprised me a little. It would not be decisive either way, but I was a little surprised that he put it in quite the way he did. He said that if we accepted No. 12, that would really be prejudicing the decisions of Lady Elliot of Harwood's Committee, because it would really make it impossible after that for the Government to tie the scheme to probation. If there is something in the drafting which produces that result, I am, of course, ready to alter the drafting. But I should have thought that it was not beyond the wit of draftsmen to draft a clause which left the question open on whether it was or was not to be tied to probation—which left that to the Secretary of State to settle when the time came. Under Amendment No. 12, that issue would be open and would be settled by regulation after Lady Elliot of Harwood's Committee had reported. Unless I missed the noble Viscount's point, or unless I am confused on this point. I would adhere to the general line of argument—
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, may I deal with the point? It is perfectly fair. I think that, in its present form, Amendment No. 12 does prejudice the issue, because it states in plain terms "whether or not". So my difficulty would not be entirely removed by changing the drafting, although I would concede that if a change were made it would affect the terms of what I have said. My difficulty would then be that you would simply leave the Secretary of State free to impose penal treatment of a kind unspecified in any detail and not even tied to probation. I feel quite sure that if you did that, you would do something which Parliament would not be prepared to pass.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount. As he is aware, any statutory instrument made under this proposal would be subject to annulment pursuant to a Resolution in either House; so I should have thought that the public were protected there.
As regards his general argument, in defence of Lady Elliot of Harwood's Committee's findings and the Government's closer consideration, and that it is very difficult to put anything at all in the Bill, I will not reply to that, or try to cover his points in detail. But I would remind him of what has been done under, for example, the Prison Act, 1952. In the Prison Act, 1952, Section 43 (1), headed Remand centres, detention centres and Borstal institutions, this is what we are told. Detention centres are to be:places in which persons not less than fourteen but under twenty-one years of age who are ordered to be detained in such centres under the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, may be kept for short periods under discipline suitable to persons of their age and description.That is what we are told there. That was nine years ago, and we are still very uncertain about the intentions of the Government with regard to these detention centres. So I am afraid we should certainly not be creating a precedent if we put down an Amendment which gave the Secretary of State very wide powers in the penal field, because nothing could really be wider or (if I may say so) vaguer than the terms of reference for these detention centres which were set up all those years ago.
85 I will not continue the argument. We all seem to be nearly at one in desiring to see these centres set up. The question really comes down to the one to which the noble Viscount primarily addressed himself: can we put in anything which, on the one hand, avoids the danger of prejudicing Lady Elliot of Harwood's Committee and, on the other hand, is not so wide as to be dangerous to the liberties of the subject? For reasons which I explained earlier, I am convinced that we must try to put in something on this occasion, for I feel that it would be too dangerous to delay. As I stated earlier, in the circumstances I should prefer that we should take our first stand on Amendment 11, which embodies the well-worked-out idea, while leaving a good deal still general and flexible.
The noble Viscount asked me whether I should be ready to take part in the discussions before the Third Reading. I am always open to discussions at any time, but I cannot, I am afraid, hope for
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I do not know if the noble Lord will tell me, as a matter of courtesy, whether he is going to move the other Amendment?
After Clause 10, to insert the following new clause:
§ very much from these discussions. The Government have had a month, and they have been thinking very hard about it. I cannot believe that the Home Office will 'be affected by my arguments in the next few days if they have not been already affected by what the noble Viscount and others have said to them and by their own very great powers of thought. If I was rude about the Home Office on an earlier Amendment, I hasten to withdraw now any suggestion that they are not extremely highminded and able people. I do not think discussions between now and Third Reading would convince the Home Office: they certainly would not convince me. In the circumstances, while thanking the noble Viscount for a particularly courteous and careful reply, I wish to press this Amendment to a Division.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amenment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 19; Not-Contents, 33.
§ Training centres
§ (".—(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument provide for the establishment of training centres, that is to say places in which persons not less than fourteen but under twenty-one years of age (whether or not probation orders have been made in respect of such persons) may be required to attend, and in which such training and instruction shall be given as will conduce to their reformation and the prevention of crime.
§ (2) Any statutory instrument made under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.")—(The Earl of Longford.)87
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, may I say a word on this Amendment? Personally, I am very sorry, having got so near on both sides, that we had to come to a Division on this matter. The noble and learned Viscount made what I thought was a reasonable reply, although I did not accept everything he said. I do not think, for instance, that it would have been beyond the wit of man to draft some kind of Amendment which would meet the particular difficulties he raised. However, I hope the Government's mind is still not closed on this matter, and that between now and Third Reading they will consider whether something can be done; and, if not, that the suggestion that legislation might be introduced at a later stage after the Committee have reported will still be considered by the Government.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, certainly the latter will still be considered. I had hoped that the discussions which I have indicated would have been fruitful. I am sorry that the noble Lord opposite did not have that hope. I will not say that our mind is closed; that would not be fair. Our mind has moved substantially in favour of the arguments which I was putting forward on the earlier Amendment, and although I should not like to say that our mind was at all closed on it, I think some new 88 factor would now have to enter the situation.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ Moved, That further proceedings be adjourned.—(Viscount Hailsham.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and the Report stage adjourned accordingly.