HL Deb 12 June 1961 vol 232 cc21-2

3.38 p.m.


My Lords, perhaps it would be convenient to the House if my noble friend were now to repeat a statement made in another place it is also a reply to the Private Notice Question here by the noble Earl, Lord Longford.


My Lords, a few moments ago, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary made this statement:

"During the showing of the film The Blue Lamp at Dartmoor Prison on Sunday afternoon a fight broke out between some prisoners, as a result of which one prisoner died, three other prisoners have sustained injuries, and two prison officers were also injured, though not seriously.

"This was an isolated incident and the prison was and remains generally quiet. As the incident may result in criminal proceedings it would be improper for me to comment further at this stage."


My Lords, I am sure we are all very much obliged to the noble Earl. May I take it that he and his colleagues are very worried about the position of the prisons at the present time, and would he agree that perhaps the gravest aspect is the shortage of staff in relation to the numbers of prisoners?


My Lords, I certainly note what the noble Earl says, but, so far as this particular case is concerned, Dartmoor Prison has a full staff.


My Lords, I take it that there will be a full inquiry into how it came about that this extraordinary violence could have happened when, presumably, there was a full staff and they were all on duty.


My Lords, I am quite certain that there will be a Governor's report. As to whether there will be a formal inquiry, I will certainly let the noble Lord know later.