§ 2.50 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the House to be again in Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (EARL BATHURST)
Before my noble and learned friend leaves the Woolsack, perhaps I may say one word to the noble Earl, Lord Longford, with regard to my answer to him yesterday on housemasters. I was wrong in saying that the housemaster system existed in detention centres, and, in calling those who operate the system "housemasters". On the other hand, the principle that exists is very similar and perhaps it would be to your Lordships' convenience if I described very shortly how the system works.
There are a warden and sub-warden, who are, of course, responsible for the centre. There are then two sub-officers, who would really be what I should call the housemasters, but who are in fact called sub-officers. There are then anything between, say, 10 to 14 officers, whom again I should compare with housemasters, though that would he incorrect. These officers look after the 60 to 75 boys expected to be in a centre at any one time. These officers each look after, and, indeed, are responsible for, a given number of boys in the 482 centre, something in the region of between 10 or 12; so they are somewhat similar to housemasters to those boys. But, of course, that is in fact a very different idea from that which I put to the noble Earl yesterday, although I want to make it quite clear to him that those officers are responsible for a given number of boys and follow those boys right through their time and all through their progress at the detention centre. I am most sorry if I misled the noble Earl or your Lordships in the course of my explanation to him yesterday.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
Perhaps I might just express my thanks to the noble Earl. It is typical of his courtesy and candour that he should have come down to the House so soon to put right any wrong impression that was created yesterday, and I can assure him that all of us are grateful. I do not know quite what "the housemaster principle" is. I have never been admitted to Caterham, where so many of your Lordships were educated, but I believe there young people are put in charge of what is called a trained soldier. I suppose you could regard him as a housemaster in the light of eternity. I do not know whether your Lordships would accept that comparison, but only in that comparison should we accept these sub-officers as housemasters. But I am most grateful to the noble Earl. If there are any further points of the same kind, perhaps I might be allowed to raise them later during the debate.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair]
§ Clause 4 [Detention of offenders aged 14 to 20]:
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: The effect of the Amendment is to ensure, if it is accepted, that there shall not be a detention centre for girls. I think there is general agreement on the principle of detention centres for boys, and that the régime which is carried out there is in many respects highly beneficial and valuable. But all the discussions in another place on this question of detention centres 483 were on the assumption that they would be exclusively for boys. Unfortunately, the Home Secretary has now made it clear that it is the intention of the Prison Commissioners to establish a centre (I believe a single detention centre) for girls.
§ I believe that serious thought on the consequences of this will show how utterly impossible a proposal of this kind is, because anyone closely concerned with the treatment of delinquent girls and young women knows that generally, before girls warrant the kind of standing or treatment that a committal to a detention centre will imply, they are likely to be seriously disturbed, mentally ill or distorted in personality. They are most unlikely, therefore, to respond to a mainly punitive régime; nor, indeed, to as short a period of training as from three to six months, which is what is proposed in the detention centre system. There may, of course, be a place for a short-term institution, to provide a break with undesirable associations and other circumstances, and an opportunity to carry out social work and help restore the girls to their families, but this should be regarded merely as a preliminary to a year or more of probation or aftercare. But it is utterly wrong, not only to label that kind of institution as a detention centre, but to allow it to be a detention centre in the way we understand it for boys. It is utterly wrong, in my submission, to assume that delinquent girls can be rescued, helped or improved by the hard and severe régime which Mr. Butler has promised in detention centres for boys.
§ I am not being sentimental about this, but completely practical. I know that there is a tiny minority of girls who are as bad as, or worse than, the worst boys, but that is my sole concession to equality in this particular matter. I am aware that my noble friends Lady Wootton of Abinger and Lady Summerskill have very strong views about equality between men and women, but there is no equality in crime between boys and girls: and even when they are equal, they are different—as different as their sexes. They require different treatment, and within the comparatively small minority of delinquent girls there must be scone for widely differing treatments and régimes. The idea of one United 484 Kingdom centre, one place for all the sex-crazy, rock-crazy, would-be "gunmen's molls" of the United Kingdom—a house of misery, as it were—is, in my submission, fantastic, stupid and sadistic. To me, the whole idea is not only abhorrent but completely at variance with the views of the experts.
I know that it is the unfortunate fate of those of us who move Amendments in Committee to be aware that, in most cases at least, a decision has been taken and is already written in the brief that we shall subsequently hear, but I should like to know, when we do receive the reply, what has caused the Government in this particular matter to go absolutely against the advice and opinion of their own Home Office Advisory Council who, in their Report, The Treatment of Young Offenders, said in paragraph 19:
In 1957, only 98 females under the age of 21 were sentenced to imprisonment for six months or less, and many of these were sentenced only with a view to recall to a borstal institution".
Now that is only 98 out of the whole of the United Kingdom who (the assumption is) would qualify for treatment in a detention centre—from all over,the country, and even from the Isle of Man, I believe. It is impracticable that we should think of one centre for these girls, because it would be clearly impracticable to set up a centre for such a small number of offenders. If such a centre were set up, it would inevitably entail many girls being sent very long distances from their homes, cutting them off from their families and also, I should have thought, from all hope of redemption. This would be quite indefensible if a long period of training was not considered necessary.
Then, again, the Home Office Advisory Council, in their summary of recommendations, said in paragraph 77:
We recognise that it will he impracticable to provide detention centres for girls, but we recommend that they should receive the standard sentences of three months or six months that we recommend for boys.…"—
I, too, agree with that—
during which they should be given an appropriate course of training…
It seems to be taken for granted, therefore, that the Council accept the advice of the Prison Commissioners, as mentioned in paragraph 19, that
such training could be devised and carried out in suitable units in selected women's prisons.
§ That would got over the difficulty of sending all but a very few girls exceptionally long distances from their homes. There are other objections, apart from the official one, and it is extraordinary that the decision should have been taken against the advice of the Home Office Advisory Council.
There are other reasons against this short-term residential treatment for girls. Dr. Peter Scott, a psychiatrist, with very wide experience of the treatment of juvenile offenders, is consultant psychiatrist to the Stamford House Remand and Classifying Home. Writing recently on the subject of detention centres for girls, he said:
Clinical experience suggests that the best results in detention centres occur among those boys in Group B who never really needed such treatment, and some of those in Group D, whose improvement was through providing an approved arena in which to demonstrate 'I can take the toughest you've got to offer'—just common-or-garden proving. It is precisely those two groups which would be unlikely to occur in a girls' detention centre; in the first instance, magistrates would not be so likely to want to commit girls. They are usually more of a threat to themselves than to society. In the second instance, self-proving of toughness (as opposed to femininity) is uncommon in girls, for whom society allows and encourages a 'passive' rôle.
Furthermore, before girls warrant detention-centre committal, they are more likely to he seriously disturbed, mentally ill, or distorted in personality, because the threshold of delinquency seems to he higher in girls. It is generally agreed that the most difficult girls are more difficult than the most difficult boys and also that the more difficult and delinquent the less likely is a punitive régime to succeed. These two probable truths should speak for themselves.
That is the opinion of Dr. Peter Scott of the Stamford House Remand and Classifying Home.
Another authority I should like to quote is Dr. Trevor Gibbens, who is consultant psychiatrist to the Girls' Remand Home in London. Curiously enough, he says at once that detention centres for girls should be welcomed; but he immediately goes on to prove that he means something entirely different from what we have been led to believe the detention centre would be, because he says:
The two months there would provide quite a valuable break in undesirable associations and circumstances of life, and this time"—
that is, the two months—
would be just about right to carry out the necessary social work and to try to restore
them to their families, et cetera, hut it would be essential, of course, that it should be thought of as a mere preliminary to a year or more of probation. The centres would have the great advantage of keeping these girls out of Holloway, and it would presumably be easy to convert one or more stately homes and equip Clem for quite constructive short courses in domestic economy, budgeting, care of children, cooking, et cetera, with lectures on hairdressing, dressmaking, et cetera.
This "stately home" is a totally different picture from the detention centre, whether the officers be called housemistresses, sub-madams, or whatever they might be. It is nothing at all like what we have been led to believe is provided for the boys. Then he goes on to say:
Girls are so varied that I would have thought several small homes for 30 or 40 girls would he better than larger ones and allow for segregation. Wayward thieves, et cetera, ought to he kept away from relatively hardened prostitutes. At the time of the Wolfenden Committee several people, Miss Mellanby, formerly Prison Commissioner in charge of the Women's Prisons, Miss Gray, a probation officer, and I, were called to give further evidence on whether an institution for prostitutes would be any good, and we all said unanimously that this was a relatively hopeless prospect. The girls would merely exchange information and contacts, they would he extremely unpopular with the surrounding community, and the staff perhaps become merely demoralized by this.
§ Those are the opinions of men of great ability and knowledge who are actually dealing all the time with girls of this type. I am in favour of a few stately homes dotted about the country where, under supervision and under confinement, girls are taught dressmaking, and so on, and helped to find themselves. But these small homes would be nothing like Mr. Butler's bulldozing, hard and severe academy for young madams, the kind of thing I seek to prevent from becoming a possibility under this Bill.
§ My final authority for moving this Amendment is the Ingleby Committee, which obviously assumed that there was no question of setting up detention centres for girls. In the section of the Report dealing with detention centres, some 13 paragraphs, they talk exclusively of boys and clearly have not considered the use of any such method for girls. I hope that when the Minister comes to reply we shall have a particular answer to the parts I quoted of the Report of the Home Office Advisory Council, and that our thoughts 487 on this will be concentrated on the possibilities of redemption for these girls. That is a possibility which I think will be irretrievably ruined if they are subjected—distorted and maladjusted, as so many of them are—to this hard and severe régime. In my view such a detention centre for girls just is not thinkable. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 4, line 32, at end, insert—
An order under this section shall not be made in respect of a female."—(Lord Stonham.)
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
In the course of these debates we have heard a good deal about the virtues which detention centres for boys are supposed to inculcate. I have been listening to the virtues which have been mentioned. Among them are the virtues of tidiness, punctuality, smartness, response to brisk discipline, and physical achievement. The noble Earl who speaks for the Home Office laid great stress yesterday upon the reformative aspect of these detention centres, and he mentioned that their purpose was to rehabilitate young men and fit them for useful life afterwards. I do not dispute that there is a place in life or the virtues of punctuality, smartness, physical achievement and tidiness, and in certain circumstances, depending on the nature of the discipline, response to brisk discipline. These are qualities that I understand to be very important in military life. They certainly have a place in industrial life, and they have a place among the virtues which are desirable in ordinary domestic life. But criminals—persons who commit serious offences—are basically selfish people. They are people who prefer their own convenience, or their own profit, to the comfort, welfare, and safety of others.
I have been very much surprised that in the course of these debates certain other virtues, which seem to me to be very much more important, have had no mention at all. I have in mind such virtues as kindness, consideration for other people, sympathy, generosity, help to others who are weaker, or who are in a weaker position than oneself. I have listened attentively to this debate and I have, I think, heard none of these virtues mentioned as those which detention 488 centres, by that form of penal treatment, are intended to inculcate. But I should have thought that for the criminal, whether he be a burglar, a stabber, or a road hog, these were the primary virtues he has to learn. I wonder whether we flatter ourselves if we suggest that the virtues I have mentioned are perhaps peculiarly feminine qualities. I should not like to make that claim, but whether or no they are peculiarly feminine qualities, I should profoundly deprecate the idea of girls being admitted or sent to any institution which substituted, or gave priority to, the virtues of which we have heard so much over the virtues of which we have heard so little.
§ 3.12 p.m.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
May I add something, to what has been said so ably by my noble friend Lord Stonham? He opened by saying that my noble friend Lady Wootton of Abinger and I believed in the equality of the sexes, but that in the field of crime it is impossible to equate man with woman. Looking at the peaceful scene opposite, I find it difficult to remind your lordships that men are the delinquent sex—this, of course, was said by my noble friend Lord Longford.
One has to approach this question bearing in mind the figures the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has just given us—the very small number of girls who qualify for this treatment. This does not mean that their intelligence is higher; nor that they have a higher sense of their civic responsibilities. I would say that that may be true one hundred years hence. It is a question of the ductless gland: I say that quite seriously. It may be that in your Lordships' House and in the House of Commons debates of this kind on a Bill of this kind will not take place, because so much will have been learned about ductile glands that the scientists will say that these difficult boys just need a certain kind of treatment. I believe that that is possible. I believe that the difference between the sexes now is probably bio-chemical, and that we shall arrive at a stage where an expert will be able to come along and say, "Here is the answer".
But now we have to deal with a situation where there are two kinds of human beings—men and women—who react differently in similar circumstances. A 489 woman is not so easily regimented as a man. I think it has been discovered in the Army—and I am sure that opposite me now are noble Lords who have had considerable experience in the Armed Forces—that when girls are in the Services they have to be handled in a different way, in so far as discipline is concerned. A man can be regimented; he may react to harsh and punitive treatment. But a woman's reactions to discipline are quite different.
We must not forget that a delinquent boy is often regarded as a hero in his own gang, but the delinquent girl does not attract to herself a gang. She is a solitary individual. Among women she is marked out as having rather let down her sex. The whole sense of values of young women are entirely different. They cannot admire and applaud actions which to them do not conform to the social behaviour which is accepted in the sphere of women. When my noble friend Lord Stonham described the kind of home he envisaged, common sense should persuade us that this is the right approach; for this reason, to a woman satisfactory human relationships are of paramount importance. One reads in the papers cases which lead one to ask: how was it possible that a woman in her home could tolerate such treatment? A woman will tolerate a lot provided that she ultimately achieves satisfactory human relationships.
The dominant instinct of these difficult girls with whom we have to deal is the maternal one, and from it comes a desire for satisfactory human relationships. Where can they find them, if they are sent to a punishment centre similar to that to which the men are sent? I would ask your Lordships to consider this very carefully and realise that this new kind of home, run by specially chosen women, who would be kind to these girls and show them affection, who would teach them hairdressing and about clothes, so that they could make themselves pretty, and all the things they are anxious to learn about (because ultimately they want a home, a husband and children), is surely the right kind of approach to these girls. They are few in number. If there were an army of them, it would be quite a different matter, but we are asking only for a way to reform a small 490 group. I feel perfectly certain that the humane way is the right way.
§ 3.15 p.m.
In introducing his Amendment, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, made much of paragraphs 18 to 20 of the Report of the Advisory Committee on the Treatment of Young Offenders. In the near future young people will no longer be going to prison. Instead of sentencing bad offenders to short terms of imprisonment, courts will be sentencing them to terms of detention. I think it right that a girl who has committed a crime which would have warranted a short sentence of imprisonment should be sent to a detention centre It is my right honourable friend's opinion that the result of this Amendment would be unfair. With respect to the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, I think that this Amendment is put down for the sake of sex equality.
I should be the first to admit, with the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, that we are discussing a very small number of recalcitrant girls. Whether or not that number may increase in future, no one can tell. None the less, girls do commit offences and can be most unruly. They can take little trouble to be clean and tidy and truthful, and they sometimes cause the authorities many other difficulties, which the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, knows only too well from her great experience. Much though we should like to see hairdressing and the art of fashion in the curriculum of such institutions, I do not think we can get very far until we teach these girls the principles of truth and obedience. Surely obedience is the most important virtue to be taught, especially to the inmates of such centres.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
Is the noble Earl seriously suggesting that obedience to anybody is a virtue?
Somebody has to teach a girl how to do hairdressing, or to be in the right frame of mind even to start learning, it. Many noble Lords will know how difficult it is to teach young men—and the same would apply to girls—40 sleep with their windows open. Obedience must start somewhere. You can go right back to the little girl, who is just as bad as the little boy, pulling the wings off flies. Unless there is some 491 sort of obedience and discipline, I do not believe we shall get very far.
I do not pretend, and nor does my right honourable friend, that a detention centre for girls is the last word. It is true that it is a new conception. On the other hand, it is an experiment, and it is proposed that the course should be based on the more beneficial aspects of the training—and they really are beneficial—given at a girls' borstal. The noble Lady knows how effective and satisfactory the girls' borstal training is. There would be the same type of people managing this centre. At the present time we have only one such centre in prospect; and it is, as has been mentioned, in Staffordshire, in the grounds of a women's open prison. But the centre will be a secure establishment and completely separate.
What I want to emphasise is that there is no reason why such a place should be a place of misery, as the noble Lord said, and as I think the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, implied. The only misery that there will be in these places, and the only misery that exists in any of these types of establishment, is that for the first time in their lives young people have to do what they are told. It is a very big shock. They have to he clean and tidy, as I mentioned yesterday. The noble Lady was doubtful whether that was necessary—I am sorry: it is obedience. The noble Lady thought that was more likely in the Forces. Nevertheless, every one of us has to be obedient and has to learn how to be obedient. Unless there is such a place as the detention centre for the type of girl who would otherwise go to prison, given that we want to keep her out of prison, then I think we must have this centre. Possibly the sort of "stately home" establishment mentioned by the noble Lord might come into the training at a later stage, during the probation period, which will be extended under this Bill, and no doubt carry on the work that will have been started—it is only a start—at the detention centre.
I would assure your Lordships that this place will not be a place of misery. It will embody all that is best and most successful from the borstal establishment, and, at the same time, will instil the willpower for the girl to improve herself and discipline herself ready to go out to an 492 outside life. If the noble Lord's Amendment were carried, it would mean that this type of girl offender could only be sent to prison, and for that reason I hope your Lordships will reject this Amendment.
§ LORD STONHAM
We have had a most disappointing reply from the noble Earl, and he entirely failed of answer a question that I put to him twice: Why have the Government decided, against the advice of their own Advisory Council, who said:It would he clearly impracticable to set up a detention centre for 98 females"?Arising out of that, and dealing with the fact that I said it was a house of misery, does the noble Earl realise that this one centre will be catering for girls from Canterbury to Carlisle, from Dover to Durham, most of whom, because of the distance, will be deprived of the possibility of visits from their family and friends? Those are the things that add to the misery. The detention centre régime, however suitable it may be to the mentality of delinquent boys, is different from the prison régime, and is on a different basis altogether; even the names of the officers indicate that.
The major objection, apart from those that I have mentioned, is that such a centre will be unsuitable for girls by reason of the fact that they are different and that when they get to that point they are disturbed. When I mentioned, quoting somebody else, stately homes and confinement there (and, of course, they would have to obey orders and do what they were told—nobody suggests anything else) the whole idea would be one of rehabilitation. Whereas it is my opinion, and the opinion of my noble friends, that if this one single detention centre for 100 girls is insisted on, it will not only be extremely costly but will make it virtually a certainty that the type of girls who will go there will be completely ruined and criminals for life. That is what we want to avoid.
§ 3.27 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I hope that the noble Lord opposite will not rest on that position. There are really five points that have to be considered, and none of the speakers from the Benches opposite has really faced up to them. The first is that put by my noble 493 friend Lord Bathurst: that it would be wrong to abolish short-term imprisonment for males in favour of training in centres away from prison conditions with adult offenders and not to make similar provision for girls. That is the first point and it seems to me unanswerable. As to the second point, on which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, asked for further reply, if he considers again paragraphs 18 to 20 of the Report on the Treatment of Young Offenders, the Advisory Council make it clear that, while the original proposal for the treatment of young offenders related only to boys and young men, and while only a small number of girls would be likely to receive short custodial sentences, provision should nevertheless be made for the same form of treatment for girls as for boys. At that time it was thought that training for girls sentenced to detention should be carried out in suitable units in selected women's prisons.
I want to make it clear (although I think it has already been made clear by my noble friend) that the training in the girls' detention centre will necessarily have to be different from that for boys, and it will not be practicable to carry out the same physical programme. I am still unconvinced, although I have listened carefully to what the two noble Ladies said, that it is wrong to have a firm disciplinary system, with an emphasis on hard work. I do not think anything the two noble Ladies said militated against that view; and, in fact, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, agreed in his last speech that there would have to be discipline. Therefore, the Government stand completely unashamed and firm on the basis of an exacting standard of conduct and behaviour. But besides that, it will be possible—and, of course, it is the whole essence of the modern system—for every effort to be made towards remedial and constructive training.
There is one point made by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, in his last remarks—namely, that if there is a separate centre in Staffordshire (which we hope will be ready by the middle of next year) in some cases, although it is a good central position, girls will be far from their homes. But if we consider the alternative to that difficulty, we must realise that it simply would not be practicable to set up a number of small units 494 to receive the small number of girls who might be expected to be sentenced to detention. We believe that it is better to provide one centre, where they can receive training in conditions segregated from adult offenders, than to have small units, each for one or two girls, in other women's establishments up and down the country, where it would be impossible to provide a separate régime and to keep them apart from adult offenders. That is the difference between us. Although I have listened most carefully, I cannot abandon that principle of segregation, and I am afraid that if the noble Lord wishes to divide we shall have to accept that position.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
May I add one word? I am bound to say, with great respect to the Lord Chancellor, that I do not think he has grasped the real force of the contentions from this side. The whole point that was made from this side of the Committee—or, at any rate, what to me is the overwhelming point—is that these few girls will be very abnormal and disturbed girls. I quite agree with the noble and learned Viscount when he says that we want to keep them out of prison. He implied that if they do not go to detention centres they will have to go to prison. Why should they not go to some other kind of institution? To put it bluntly, we do not accept the idea, which I think was contained in the phrase of the noble and learned Viscount, that "there must be similar provision for girls". That is what we are objecting to. We do not think there should be similar provision for any large number of girls. In particular, we do not think that this small, disturbed group of girls should receive similar provision to boys, and I therefore hope that the noble Lord will press this Amendment to a Division.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I hope that the noble and learned Viscount has not misunderstood what I said, though I think he may have done. I specifically mentioned that I myself believe that there is a place for discipline; there is a place for smartness, punctuality and all these virtues, in industrial life and in ordinary life. I think I used.those very expressions. I also said that I would question the noble and learned Viscount's statement (which I think fell from him in an unguarded 495 moment) about admiring the virtue of obedience to anybody. I think he would agree that some discretion must be exercised as to whom we give our obedience. We can all quote examples of disastrous obedience in recent history—fortunately not so much in this country as elsewhere.
These virtues are not all at one level. In point of fact, some of these virtues of smartness, punctuality, response to discipline and physical achievement, are extremely valuable and necessary in carrying out any well-planned criminal enterprise on a large scale. They are very valuable for that purpose, and a well-planned criminal enterprise, such as a well-staged bank robbery, cannot be carried out without a good deal of planning. The virtues I mentioned are those which I think have no place in criminal enterprise, but I hope that I shall not be held by the noble and learned Viscount to have deprecated other virtues or to have left no place for them in the world outside the detention centres.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I would say only this to the noble Lady, and I do not think she would disagree. The sot of virtues with which she dealt as belonging so to speak to (if I may use one adjective) the hard set, are not excluded from possession of the soft set. But when you are dealing with someone who, ex hypothesi, would now be sent to prison for six or nine months, I take the view that the combination, the first stage of inculcating the hard virtues, may well be a good foundation on which to develop the soft. That is probably the difference between us.
§ LORD JESSEL
I do not know if the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, intends to divide the House, but there is one thing which is worrying me. He does not want these girls to go to a detention centre, and he does not want them to go to prison. Where does he want them to go?
§ LORD STONHAM
I thought I made that clear. I want them to go to borstals, if the magistrates or the courts think they should go. But the disturbed girls, particularly the girls who 'the psychiatrist says would not be suited by that kind of treatment, should, I think, be in one special smaller place. If necessary, there should be three or four such places dotted about the country, so that their parents would not have so far to travel 496 to them, and so that the particular régime adapted to their needs could be provided. I think that is a fair answer. The noble Lord may not agree with it, but it is certainly a complete answer.
The noble Lord mentioned "home" and also spoke about parents' travelling. I am sure he knows very well that many of the offenders who we envisage would be gathered into these centres will have practically no home. Many of them will not have parents, or will merely have foster parents or some members of the family.
I think this centre will be a place where understanding and training will begin, and we hope that will start to get better, in the tempo of a detention centre.
There is one aspect of the detention centre which is slightly disturbing to me—and I pay large sums of money every year to send girls to detention centres. My fear is that prostitutes might get mixed up with the other girls. If we could receive some undertaking that magistrates could be requested not to send their prostitutes to this particular place, I think we should be greatly reassured. For many years the whole of civilisation has been trying to reform the prostitute, and the only people who claim to have succeeded, so far as I know, are the Chinese. Every book, by every traveller back from China—and nobody from these Benches has yet written a book on that subject—says that the Chinese have been remarkably successful in reclaiming these women. It is done by remarkably hard work. They are put to cotton-weaving looms for twelve hours a day, for a very long period, and at the end of that time they have lost their former tastes. I do not think the detention centre that I imagine, and as I picture it from the description of noble Lords and Ladies opposite, is at all a suitable place for the holding of prostitutes.
§ 3.39 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My noble friend can take it that I cannot imagine a bench of magistrates using a female detention centre for prostitutes. They are well aware of the general danger of which my noble friend spoke. I 497 cannot follow him into the Chinese parallel. I think it was in the Pickwick Papers that a character wrote an article on Chinese metaphysics. When he was asked how he did it he said that he looked up in the encyclopædia the article on China, and the other article on metaphysics, and combined his information. I have not had time to take the same course, but I hope that my noble friend Lord Hawke will be content with my answer on the first point.
§ Clause 4 agreed to
§ Clause 5:
§ Detention of defaulters aged 14 to 16
§ 5.—(1) In any case where a court has power or would have power but for the statutory restrictions upon the imprisonment of young offenders, to commit to prison for any default a person under seventeen but not less than fourteen years of age, the court may, subject to the provisions of this section, commit498
§ variably a prostitute, or on the way to becoming one.
§ LORD STONHAM
Unless the magistrates are going to sentence these girls for more than six months, where are they to go? They have to go to a detention centre or prison. If it is less than six months they must go to a detention centre.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 28; Not-Contents, 76.497
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Iddesleigh, E.||Silkin, L.|
|Amwell, L.||Latham, L.||Sinha, L.|
|Archibald, L.||Lawson, L.||Stonham, L. [Teller.]|
|Boyd-Orr, L.||Longford, E.||Strang, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Lucan, E. [Teller.]||Summerskill, B.|
|Citrine, L.||Macpherson of Drumochter, L.||Walston, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Morris of Kenwood, L.||Williams, L.|
|Harvey of Tasburgh L.||Pethick-Lawrence, L.||Williams of Barnburgh. L.|
|Henderson, L.||Raglan, L.||Wise, L.|
|Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Abinger, L.||Ferrier, L.||Margesson, V.|
|Ailwyn. L.||Fortescue, E.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.|
|Allerton, L.||Fraser of North Cape, L.||Merrivale, L.|
|Ashton of Hyde, L.||Freyberg, L.||Merthyr, L.|
|Baden-Powell, L.||Goschen, V.||Milverton, L.|
|Balfour of Inchrye, L.||Gosford, E.||Montgomery of Alamein, V.|
|Bathurst, E.||Grenfell, L.||Morton of Henryton, L.|
|Bethell, L.||Hailsham, V. (L. President.)||Mowbray and Stourton, L.|
|Birdwood, L.||Hamilton of Dalzell, L.||Moyne, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Hampton, L.||Newall, L.|
|Casey, L.||Hastings, L.||Newton, L. [Teller.]|
|Chelmsford, V.||Hawke, L.||Parker of Waddington, L.|
|Chesham, L.||Horsbrugh, B.||Rathcavan, L.|
|Cholmondeley, M.||Howe, E.||Ravensdale of Kedleston, B.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Jellicoe, E.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Cottesloe, L.||Jessel, L.||Salisbury, M.|
|Courtown, E.||Killearn, L.||Somers, L.|
|Croft, L.||Kilmuir. V. (L. Chancellor.)||Spens, L.|
|Denham, L.||Kinnoull, E.||Swinton, E.|
|Devonport, V.||Lambert, V.||Teviot, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Lansdowne, M.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Dynevor, L.||Limerick, E.||Twining, L.|
|Elliott of Harwood, B.||Lloyd, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Elton, L.||Long, V.||Willington, M.|
|Exeter, L. Bp.||Macclesfield, E.||Wolverton, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||McCorquodale of Newton, L.|
Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ him to a detention centre or to a remand home for any term not exceeding the term for which he could but for any such restriction have been committed to prison.
§ (2) Except as provided by the following provisions of this Part of this Act, a person shall not be committed under this section to a detention centre—
- (a) for a term of one month or less: or
- (b) for any term exceeding six months,
§ 3.49 p.m.
§ LORD LATHAM moved, in subsection (1) to leave out "or to a remand home". The noble Lord said: I rise to move Amendment No. 12 on the Marshalled List, and I should say that Amendments Nos. 13, 50 and 51 are related to the proposition contained in Amendment No. 12, for Clause 5 and the Fourth and Fifth Schedules will need alteration in their respective wording if, as I hope may be the case, the Government accept this Amendment to Clause 5.
§ The object of this Amendment is twofold. First, it is substantially to prevent remand homes from being used as places of punitive detention for people or young persons who have failed to pay fines imposed by the courts, and generally to terminate the use of remand homes as places of punitive detention. The Fourth Schedule to the Bill contains minor and consequential Amendments necessary to earlier Acts by reason of the provisions of the Bill, in order to take account of the changes made by the Bill, and particularly the fact that the committal to detention centres and remand homes of defaulters aged 14 and under 17 for nonpayment of fines et cetera, will be governed by Clause 5 of the Bill. A new section has accordingly been substituted for Section 54 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933. This section contains the present power to use remand homes for punitive detention. In many parts of the country, including London, I understand that this power is not much used at the present time. Most juvenile courts may therefore already regard it as out of date and inappropriate as an instrument, bearing in mind the true modern function of remand homes, and also (this is of equal importance) the great pressure in recent years on the accommodation in remand homes.
§ It is submitted that nowadays a remand home is, and should be, mainly a diagnostic centre where young people placed on remand in custody by the courts are held temporarily while detailed reports on home circumstances, upbringing and the events and influences which led to the commission of the offence are prepared for the courts. In London, this remand process is being successfully extended to the classification of young persons whom the courts wish to commit to approved schools, so that the most appropriate school for each 500 child may be selected. The Ingleby Committee commended this enterprise, as will be seen in paragraph 401 of their Report (Cmnd. 1191).
§ It will be observed that under the provisions of the Bill, notably in Clause 5 and the Fourth Schedule, power is given to increase greatly the use of remand homes for punitive purposes, to the damage of their work as diagnostic centres and, in our submission, seriously impairing the classification which is so desirable. Obviously, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the important diagnostic work of a remand home to be developed in the penal atmosphere of a place which is also used for punitive detention. Most remand homes are not large, and it is felt that the result would be an undesirable mixing together under one roof of (a) young people in trouble whose circumstances are being sympathetically and expertly investigated to produce reports or advice for the courts, and who are only temporarily resident in the remand home pending a final decision by the courts; and (b) young people already dealt with by the courts, for whom punitive detention as such has been ordered and whose attitude to the remand home would be similar to that of a prisoner to his prison and to the staff—that of the prisoner to his jailer.
§ These two functions, sympathetic and remedial diagnosis, which have become the main functions of a remand home, and punitive detention, cannot be properly combined and carried out under one roof by a single group of staff. They are, in fact, irreconcilable functions, purposes and endeavours. Local authorities are of the opinion that if one is to be fully efficient the other must be excluded. I hope that, in those circumstances, the Government may be able to accept the Amendment, which deals with a serious aspect of the utilisation of remand homes. I beg to move.
Page 4, line 38, leave out ("or to a remand home").—(Lord Latham.)
I have down a similar Amendment a little later. I should like to express my agreement with what the noble Lord opposite has said. These remand homes are not intended for the reception of criminals who are under sentence, but entirely for children who are 501 remanded by the local courts for investigation and report.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND MINISTER FOR SCIENCE (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
The noble Lord who moved this Amendment referred to Amendment No. 13 and to Amendments Nos. 50 and 51. I take it from that that Amendment No. 13 is consequential on this. It could be treated as a separate Amendment, but if it is consequential then I will deal with them together. Amendments Nos. 50 and 51 raise a slightly different point, although I admit that it is a closely related point. The present Amendment deals with Clause 5 which is the question of how to deal with fine-defaulters. Clause 5 provides that a fine-defaulter can, or will, be committed to a remand home if the period of committal is to be one month or less, and to a detention centre if the period is longer than a month. Clause 6 (if I may say this in parenthesis) contains a special provision for the fine-defaulter who at the time of committal is already detained in a detention centre on some other ground.
The question is; where do you put, or how do you deal with, a fine-defaulter where the period of committal is a month or less? I do not know; I was not able to gather quite what it is that the noble Lord who moved the Amendment would wish to do. I should have thought that the alternative to what is proposed in the Bill was committal to a detention centre. But, if so, that has been deprecated by the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders. They said—and here I quote:the training programme of a [detention] 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.So a detention centre, if the Advisory Council's views are to be accepted, is out. The Advisory Council recommended that fine-defaulters between the ages of 17 and 21 should instead be committed to prison. But the committal to prison of those under the age of 17 would be inconsistent with the prohibition of the imprisonment of persons of that age which at present applies to the magistrates' courts and, by Clause 2 (2) of this Bill, is extended to the superior courts.
502 In our view, one must answer the question of where these young people are to be sent if they are defaulting on fines. As we see it, the alternative to the detention centre as a place of custody for young offenders, if you exclude prison, as we do, is the remand home and under the existing law the remand home may be used for committal for up to one month of defaulters under the age of 14 and, if no detention centre is available to the court, of those aged 14 and under 17. The number of defaulters in either age group who have to be committed to custody is small—I am sorry that the exact figure is not available. If those over 14 who are committed for short periods, as well as those under 14, go to remand homes, the remainder can be sent to junior detention centres with little, if any, detrimental effect on the running of the centres. I should have thought, with respect, limiting myself for the moment to Amendment 12 and to Amendment 13, which is consequential, that there lay a really complete answer to those two Amendments. Those relating to the Fourth Schedule, I think, are worthy of slightly separate treatment, because the arguments are not quite the same.
I should like to call the attention of the noble and learned Viscount to the fact that remand homes are not places of detention. The remand home in my county is a villa alongside the main road. Anybody can get out of it, and too often people do.
§ LORD STONHAM
I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, has again intervened on this point, because that is the whole point of the Amendment. Although the noble and learned Viscount suggested that what he said was a complete answer to Amendments 12 and 13, I am afraid that we on this side of the Committee do not see it that way at all. To continue to use remand homes for punitive detention for children under 14 is wholly wrong. The dual use of remand homes for observation and punishment—because that is what it means—is surely wholly inappropriate, as the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, indicated. The Cambridge Report on detention in remand homes said that this was not only undesirable but unsuccessful. Here we have the Government resisting Amendments which have had the object of no longer allowing the use 503 of remand homes as punitive places, and the Government are blind to the fact that that system is unsuccessful. We all know that there is a serious shortage of places in remand homes at present, and it will further aggravate those difficulties to continue to combine punitive detention with the primary function of remand homes, which is the careful observation of children and young persons with a view to helping the courts to pass a wise and proper sentence or decision.
There is the other point: that it is undesirable to remove children of school age, as these children are, from home for short periods as a punishment. I should have thought that the Government would have seized the opportunity in this Bill to abolish punitive detention in remand homes. The courts, after all, have other alternatives available: attendance centres or, where a short-term removal of the child from the home is in the interests of the child, fit person orders, which can be revoked as appropriate. We have not succeeded yet in getting the Government to budge at all, but I hope that the noble and learned Viscount the Leader of the House will look at this point again between now and a later stage and see whether it cannot be accepted.
§ LORD CHORLEY
The noble and learned Viscount who leads the House has produced no argument whatever, so far as I can see, for saying it is appropriate to send these young people to these remand homes. All that he says, in effect, is that we must fit them into this Procrustean bed, whether they go there properly or not. He says to my noble friend who moved the Amendment, "Where do you propose to put them? You cannot find a Procrustean bed". Surely it is for the Government to provide a proper place for these people. This is a Government Bill. And if, as is perfectly clear from the argument, there is a need for some other method for dealing with these young fine-defaulters (as the noble and learned Viscount calls them), the Government ought, in the interests of sane penology, to provide it.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
No; but the noble Lord may speak if he wishes to. There are two points. Under the invitation of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, I will report this debate to my right honourable friend. If he asks me to look at it again, then of course I will. But I should have been greatly helped in looking at it again if something rational had been suggested as to what we are to do with these fine-defaulters. They do default in their fines and something must be done. The two obvious alternatives, for reasons which I have explained, are quite inappropriate. The noble Lord, Lard Chorley, seems to agree to this. But I think that his idea that a special kind of centre should be provided for those who are committed for one month or under for fine-defaulting is not a really practicable suggestion.
However, the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has asked whether I will look at it again. The answer is, Yes, I will. I will certainly ask my right honourable friend to examine this matter again before Report. The last thing I want to suggest is that a remand home is a suitable place for punishment. But you cannot ever get in a penal system perfectly tidy administrative arrangements: there will be loose ends occasionally. This is a slight one and I agree that it is loose. But I will certainly tell my right honourable friend of the wish of the noble Lord that he should examine the matter afresh to see whether any rational alternative can be found.
I wish to bring one point of personal observation and experience to bear on this particular case. My noble friend has pointed out—and the noble and learned Viscount who leads the House has, I think, to some extent accepted his contention—that it is undesirable to combine the diagnostic with the penal use of remand homes. I must say that I hope very much that the Government will accept this Amendment, but for another reason. The courts have apparently themselves decided that remand homes should not be used in this way, because they have not been very much used in the past, although I believe that it is well within 505 the power of the courts to so use them. But what the remand homes have been used for is as a place where you can confine a child who has been condemned by the court but for whom no place can be found in a borstal.
Now this is something which I think, if the remand homes are increasingly used for punitive purposes, will become very much more prevalent, because these boys who are sent to remand homes as a matter of fact become the backbone of the remand home. You must remember that these are the worst characters, probably, in the remand home. At any rate, the others are awaiting sentence, whereas these boys have received a conviction. Because they are in the remand home longer (and sometimes they are there as long as more than six months), they inevitably become the backbone of its social organisation. This is highly undesirable. The small boys who are there, apparently to be under observation, whose cases are being diagnosed, should not, I suggest, be put in a position where their juvenile society is run and controlled by boys who have actually been condemned to a sentence. My point, as I hope your Lordships will have gathered, is not that the remand homes should not be used for this purpose. Indeed, they should not. But what I fear is that the same unsatisfactory position will be exacerbated if the remand homes are used more extensively for punitive purposes.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think the noble Lord has overlooked the fact that a committal to a remand home under the clause we are discussing is for a term not exceeding one month.
§ LORD LATHAM
Having regard to the undertaking given by the noble and learned Viscount the Leader of the House, I would ask permission to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 5 agreed to.
§ Clause 6 agreed to.
§ Clause 7:
§ Consecutive terms and aggregate periods of detention
§ (5) Without prejudice to subsection (4) of this section, the total term for which a person may be detained in a detention centre shall not exceed nine months at a time; and accordingly so much of any term for which a person is 506 ordered to be so detained as, together with any other term on which it is wholly or partly consecutive, exceeds nine months shall be treated as remitted.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (5), to leave out "nine months at a time" and insert "six months". The noble Lord said: I hope it will suit your Lordships' convenience if we discuss Amendments Nos. 14 and 15 together, as they are on precisely the same point. In our view, a total term of nine months in a detention centre may be very sharp, but certainly cannot be regarded as short. We think it is far too long, and that the maximum should remain at six months. The nine month total is a possibility through consecutive sentences, and those with experience of detention centres think (and I also think it is a very important point) it would be disastrous to mix in one centre offenders who are serving sentences varying in length from three months to nine months.
§ I think everyone will agree, whether we accept the need for detention centres or not, that if they have a value it is value of the régime; the system of training; the object of achieving or getting the young person to believe that he is achieving something at the detention centre. It would be impossible to organise a centre satisfactorily so that the régime would provide, at the same time and in the same place, for the requirements of youths with widely varying periods to serve. In our view, no orders for periods longer than six months should be made; nor, in our view, would a second sentence of detention serve any useful purpose.
I would draw the attention of the noble and learned Viscount once more to the Home Office Advisory Council's Report on this particular subject. He will perhaps be aware that in paragraph 31 they say:
In pursuance of the principle that the treatment of young offenders must be primarily remedial and educational, the régime in a detention centre must be stimulating and must contain an element of progressive training. This can be achieved only if there is some uniformity in the length of sentences; in the existing centres, the great majority of sentences are,…for three months, which is the equivalent of ten weeks with full remission, and the programme of training has been devised to make the best possible use of this period. If,…the courts had power to impose any sentence between one month and six months…and they used this power in such a way
that there was in fact a great variation in the length of sentences, the organisation of training would be extremely difficult.
That is what the Home Office's own Advisory Council said; and they went on in the next paragraph to recommend, in order to give some latitude to courts, two standard sentences, of three months and six months.
§ That clearly indicates that the Advisory Council—and the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Home Office is a member of that Council—having consulted representatives of the Prison Commissioners, rejected the idea of any sentences longer than six months being served in detention centres. I am in a position to say that the wardens of detention centres are of the opinion that a committal for more than six months would make it extremely difficult to cater for youths doing over six months—up to nine months, say—when the centre was geared to provide brisk and vigorous treatment for youths serving either three months or six months.
The Ingleby Committee also made some observations on this point. They expressed the opinion in paragraph 323
that if a longer period of detention is imposed on a young person, it should be associated with more positive remedial training than is provided at a detention centre.
In other words, nine months is too long. It is not the short, sharp shock which brings such delight, apparently, to the minds of many people. I am suggesting that the Government therefore cannot have it both ways, and cannot allow a sentence totalling nine months, because it is contrary to the whole conception of this severe, sharp, disciplinary jolt. The position is that if it has not succeeded in six months, then there is no purpose in continuing; another form of treatment should be tried for that particular young delinquent. I therefore ask the Government on this occasion to adopt as their authority their own Advisory Council, and accept this Amendment, which would have the effect of limiting these sentences to six months. I beg to move.
Page 6, line 33, leave out ("nine months at a time") and insert ("six months").—(Lord Stonham.)
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
My Lords, it surely is clear, as my noble friend has just said, that if, for whatever reason, it is necessary to send a young man away for some form of detention for as much as nine months, it is extremely important that this time should be used for a constructive educational purpose. The great merit of this Bill—and, after all, it has hidden away a merit or two—is that it has established for periods of between six months and three years an indeterminate sentence which is to be used, in the main, as we understand it, for purposes of constructive, positive training. Nine months, if my arithmetic is correct, is a period which lies between six months and three years; and nine months is a period after which people can be, and sometimes are, released from approved schools, and might well be, under this indeterminate sentence, released from borstal training if they have made very good progress. Surely, for a period that is as long as that, if it is necessary at all, it is essential that the detention should be of a totally different character from the régime which we have had so often described, sometimes in different clichés and sometimes in the same cliché, and which prevails in detention centres.
I desire to support this Amendment. I find it surprising that the Government should, by this Bill, be reducing the minimum period of borstal training to six months. No one supposes that borstal training is short and sharp. It is reducing the period of training in an approved school to six months, with the approval of the Secretary of State; and no one supposes that training in an approved school is short and sharp. Yet the short and sharp training at detention centres is to be increased to nine months.
§ 4.22 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
None of the noble Lords who has spoken has pointed out that there are really two quite separate results which would follow from the passing of this Amendment. The subsection under review, subsection (5) of Clause 7, provides—and I think I should read it:Without prejudice to subsection (4) of this section"—509 which deals with the aggregate of the terms for which a person may be ordered to be detained under two or more orders, which should not exceed six months—the total term for which a person may be detained in a detention centre shall not exceed nine months at a time; and accordingly so much of any term for which a person is ordered to be so detained as, together with any other term on which it is wholly or partly consecutive, exceeds nine months shall be treated as remittedThe noble Lord proposes to leave out the words "nine months at a time".
The first and perhaps most important effect of the Amendment results from the omission of the words "at a time"—because, in place of "nine months", he proposes to substitute "six months", but he does not propose to substitute anything for the words "at a time". That is, as I say, perhaps the more important of the two effects of his Amendment, and it is that to which I wish to speak first. The effect of deleting the words "at a time" would be to remove the limitation imposed by subsection (5), whereby the upper limit of the period of detention—that is, nine months in the Bill as printed, and six months as proposed in the Amendment—applies only to terms of detention which are consecutive. As it stands, the subsection does not prevent subsequent terms of detention making a total of more than nine months, provided, of course, that there is a gap during which the person is released between the terms of detention. The effect of the Amendment would be to include in the maximum period of detention all terms of detention, whether consecutive or separate. That is to say, once a person had been detained for nine months (or, if the Amendment were passed, for six months) he could never again be sentenced to detention in a detention centre.
I am not going to deal with any drafting points, although perhaps the noble Lord will take note that, even if his Amendment were passed, a technical redrafting would be necessary. I am dealing only with points of substance. If a court is to be deprived of its power to sentence a person to detention in a detention centre because he has already been detained for the maximum period permitted by the Bill, our view is that the court will be severely and unreasonably limited in the punishments it can impose under the Bill. For fine- 510 defaulters aged 14 to 16, the punishment would then be limited to one month in a remand home. For criminal offenders it would be limited to probation, or a fine, or a sentence of borstal training, or, if the law allows, a sentence of imprisonment exceeding three years, or an approved school order. They are the options which are left. But, in our view, probation or a fine may, and in the circumstances envisaged very likely would, provide an inadequate sanction against the offence; or the offender's age and circumstances might well make borstal training unsuitable and perhaps much too severe as a punishment. The result is that we feel that, in effect, to preclude a court from ordering a second period of detention centre training at all (whether or not pit considers it suitable) is unreasonably and severely to limit the discretion of the court to the detriment of the proper treatment, of the offender.
That is the first of the two effects which this Amendment would have. The second effect is that to which I think the speakers mainly spoke, which is to reduce the total period of detention from nine months to six months. Some of the objections—I think, all of them—also apply to this effect; that is to say, we think that if the total period of detention at any one time cannot exceed the six months' detention which the court is allowed to impose for a first offence, the court, faced with deciding on a sentence for a further offence, or for failure to pay a fine, by a person already at a detention centre, is unduly restricted in sentencing him. Of course, if it is argued that a court in this position ought to be able to impose a further sentence of detention in a detention centre, there may also be argument about the maximum period which should be allowed. On the one hand, I think that we should allow the court a reasonable discretion; on the other hand, I think that the person sentenced should not be detained at a detention centre after the period of useful training given him at the centre has expired.
I think that there is no real difference between the noble Lord and myself about the principles to be applied. I must say to the Committee that the Prison Commissioners are satisfied that they can provide adequate training in detention centres for periods up to nine 511 months. That is why nine months has been provided in the Bill. Beyond this period, I think that both sides are agreed that offenders should be subjected to a different form of training. I do not think that I can offer much hope on the first of the two issues which I have endeavoured to discuss, but I do not want to be dogmatic on the second. If it would help the noble Lord, if he will withdraw his Amendment I will give an undertaking to examine this point as between six and nine months again before Report stage and let him have an answer.
§ LORD STONHAM
I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount. With regard to his first objection to Amendment No. 14, which was fully justified, of course he will be aware that the last business yesterday evening was to consider Amendment No. 10, which we had tabled confidently in the belief that the Government would accept it, and which provided that there would be only one sentence of detention. Had that Amendment been accepted, the deletion of the words "at a time" would have been wholly in order.
§ LORD STONHAM
That part is all right. Since the Government have rejected our views on that, I agree with him about the words "at a time". On the other point, the noble and learned Viscount was worried because the courts, having given six months' detention, would be severely limited if the offender came before them again. He mentioned the kind of alternatives with which the courts would be confronted, if they could not give another sentence of detention, but in any case their limit would be three months at a detention centre. Obviously, if six months had failed to reform a delinquent, I should not have thought that the court would be much encouraged to give a further three months. I am perfectly satisfied with what the noble and learned Viscount said. If he takes this back again in the hope that on Report we can limit the total period at detention centre to a period of six months, I am sure that my noble friends would be satisfied, and I beg leave to withdraw this Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 7 agreed to.512
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM moved, after Clause 7 to insert the following new clause:
§ Provision of remand homes
§ ".—(1) The duty of a local authority to provide remand homes under section seventy-seven of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, as amended by section thirty-eight of the Children Act, 1948, shall be executed subject to the provisions of this section.
§ (2) The Secretary of State may give to any local authority such directions as he thinks necessary requiring them to establish or maintain a remand home specified in the directions.
§ (3) Where by any direction given under this section a local authority is required to establish or maintain a remand home, the Secretary of State may give such directions to any other local authorities requiring them to contribute towards the expenses incurred as he thinks just."
§ The noble Lord said: This is a new clause which seeks to remedy the present acute shortage of remand home places by giving the Home Secretary full power to stimulate the factivities of local authorities under Section 77 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933. We propose that the Secretary of State should have power to give local authorities directions requiring them to establish or maintain remand homes, or requiring them to contribute to the expenses of remand homes.
§ According to the Ingleby Report, at the end of 1959 there were only 49 remand homes provided by local authorities, and 4 others of a voluntary nature, with accommodation for only 1,216 young persons—921 boys and 395 girls. Only 20 counties and 17 county boroughs in the whole country provided homes, though I am aware that local authorities have joint arrangements in respect of some of these homes. Obviously many counties need to be strongly stimulated, if they are to discharge their duties under the Children and Young Persons Act. Frankly, this stimulation has not yet been applied.
§ Section 78 of the 1933 Act requires the Home Secretary to cause remand homes to be inspected and enables him to make recommendations as to the use of places to be used as remand homes, their inspection and general running. In fact, the Home Secretary has considerable powers in this matter, but has not exercised his power of approval sufficiently as to the use of premises as remand homes, or applied to remand 513 homes the provisions of the Act relating to the approval of schools.
§ I think that there are two reasons for the small number of remand home places. One is shown in paragraph 393 of the Ingieby Report, which indicates that the average weekly cost per head of keeping a child in a remand home was estimated at that time to be £12 7s. 6d. We have to face the view that that is a very large sum. I think that it is one of the reasons—perhaps the main reason—for the acute shortage of homes, but I think it is a shortage which should not be tolerated. The second reason for our present difficulties is that there was, very fortunately, a decline in the number of young people sent to remand homes between 1951 and 1955, when juvenile delinquency figures dropped considerably, and therefore plans for providing remand homes were not proceeded with because it was thought that the places were not needed. I appreciate that that was a reasonable attitude to take at that time, but it is certainly not a proper attitude to take now.
§ We have some extraordinary examples of the great cost, quite apart from the great misery, of this shortage of remand homes. I know of a court in Yorkshire which tried to find a place in a remand home and eventually the only place they could and was at Plymouth. That meant that a police officer had to go all the way to Plymouth and back with the child, and whenever the child had to come before the court the same thing had to happen. In another case, the magistrates in a Northern city could only find a remand home place at Taunton, Somerset. I am glad that my adopted county was able to be so hospitable, but it would cost around £100 to transport young people backwards and forwards in this way. Trips of 300 to 400 miles for appearances in juvenile courts are quite common. The shortage has reached a point where it is generally difficult and often quite impossible to place a child, and in some parts of the country courts have had to remand undesirable offenders on bail because no remand home places are available.
§ I know that some local authorities have been anxious to press the Home Secretary to take statutory power to co-ordinate and encourage joint schemes. I see the noble Earl looking at me in some amaze. If he wishes, I will give him their names 514 or pass on the information to him afterwards, but I can quote them. Though the high cost of keeping children in remand homes is regrettable and unavoidable, I think it is rather less per head now, other things being equal, because remand homes are so full and their overheads are no higher than when only partly used.
§ I think I have said enough to establish the point. There are the great, and I think growing, shortage of remand home places, the high cost of transporting people to remand homes over long distances and the granting of bail to many undesirable cases. I think that this already severe shortage will become dangerous, unless prompt action is taken. I hope that this Amendment will be accepted, so that the Home Secretary will be in a position to exert pressure on local authorities to provide remand homes, or join with other local authorities in providing them, where the shortage is acute and the need greatest. I beg to move.
After Clause 7, insert the said new clause.—(Lord Stonham.)
§ 4.40 p.m.
I can see, from what the noble Lord said in moving his Amendment, that he would like to have more remand homes. There is no doubt that a case can be argued for that. The noble Lord then went on to mention the various sections of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, and various other Acts under which local authorities run and manage these remand homes. The noble Lord is asking that my right honourable friend should have a compulsory power to farce local authorities to build new remand homes. But I really wonder whether, in the first place, we should get more and secondly, whether the local authorities would be prepared to carry on working the Act of 1933. The one way to sour a local authority or any people in their community is for Whitehall to come down and say exactly what has to be done. This Act of 1933 has to be worked with persuasion and co-operation with the local authorities.
The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and his noble friend sitting beside him, know only too well the balance that must be kept between my right honourable friend and those local authorities who have 515 special charge for carrying out the working of this Act. Between those two there are, of course, the inspectors of my right honourable friend, who work in the closest consultation and co-operation with the local authorities. As the noble Lord well knows, these local authorities are not working as agents of the Home Office, but are exercising an independent statutory function, subject only to the control entailed by the financial help they receive from the Exchequer. As the noble Lord knows, there is still the 50 per cent. specific grant for the remand home services. The noble Lord has said that he would like to see more of them. I am glad to tell him that six more slightly larger homes have been undertaken already by local authorities and will be ready in the relatively near future. I do not know, but possibly they are among those mentioned by the noble Lord.
§ LORD STONHAM
Can the noble Earl be a little more precise?—because his right honourable friend announced, I think last year, an increased programme of remand homes. This announcement was most welcome, but, so far, I do not think any details have been published. If the noble Earl could give us more information on that matter it would be most helpful.
I am only too pleased to give the noble Lord and your Lordships the information I have. There are, in fact, 51 remand homes, and there are 1,237 places in 'all. These are the new ones that will be available in the near future. The London County Council will increase the number of places in their remand home for girls from 30 to 49. The Middlesex County Council are increasing the number of places for boys in St. Nicholas House from 36 to 42, and are planning a new remand home for 36 girls to replace one that now takes only 30. The East Sussex County Council are similarly opening a new remand home for 18 girls—I am sorry: that is already opened; it was opened in May, 1960. The Birmingham City Council are planning to replace a home for 18 girls with one for 25. The West Riding County Council will open a remand home for 20 boys in May next. Leeds Council propose to replace their remand home for 23 boys with one for 30. It is 516 five new ones, and not six, as I said, because one is already open. That shows the trend.
The noble Lord was right when I looked somewhat surprised when he said that there are local authorities who would be keen to see my right honourable friend have these powers. Perhaps he could let me know, and I assure him I will see that their problem is looked into; and if my right honourable friend can help, he will certainly do all he can. I have explained to your Lordships that we are endeavouring to do everything in our power to assist local authorities to bring in these new remand homes. I put it before your Lordships that the compulsion which the noble Lord would like to see is not the way in which local authorities should be treated. It is co-operation and persuasion that we want in order to operate the 1933 Act. For that reason, I would ask the noble Lord whether he would be so good as to withdraw the Amendment.
§ LORD STONHAM
I am grateful to the noble Earl for that reply, but according to my arithmetic, and with the able assistance of my noble friend Lord Walston, it means that 'the number of places has been, or will be some time this year or next, increased by 94; that is, 94 over and above the 1,200-odd we have already. It also means that there has been 'an increase of only 21 places in the last two years: because I quoted the figure for 1959 of 1,216, and the noble Earl quoted a figure of 1,237. So progress is so slow as to be scarcely perceptible. I can well understand why these small increases, welcome as they are, have not been blazoned abroad.
The fact is that we shall never get the remand home places which are needed unless this stimulus is applied. I am fully with the noble Earl in not wanting to assume dictatorial powers with local authorities, but you come to the point in certain things where you have to say: "The local authorities are not doing this job. What are we going to do about it?" The Home Secretary must realise his responsibilities and take action. I have in my hand a quotation from the Guardian, dated April 18 of this year, and it says:The Bedfordshire County Council has decided to ask the County Councils Association to press the Horne Secretary to seek statutory powers to co-ordinate and encourage joint 517 schemes among local authorities to provide new remand homes of the types most needed.That is one county council which is proposing to take action of that kind. The difficulty is that you get some good and active local authorities who are doing the job, and others who are not. I know that this may be a new conception and a matter of extreme difficulty to consider, but I think it will have to come if this need is to be met. I hope the noble Earl will look into this question, which was obvious news to him, and I think he will find that there is quite a feeling among some local authorities that action by the Home Secretary should be taken.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ Clauses 8 and 9 agreed to.
§ Clause 10:
§ Attendance at attendance centres
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER moved to leave out subsection (1). The noble Baroness said: Yesterday I tried hard to persuade your Lordships to take a step forward and raise from 8 to 12 the age at which a criminal charge can he laid against a child. To take a step forward is a manœuvre which some noble Lords opposite appear to have difficulty in executing. I am confident that your Lordships will show equal reluctance in executing the manœuvre of taking a step backwards—for that is what this subsection which it is proposed to delete proposes.
§ The main arguments against reducing from 12 to 10 the age at which sentence of attendance at an attendance centre can be passed run parallel to those which I used yesterday before your Lordships in favour of raising the age of criminal responsibility to twelve. The arguments are that children under the age of 12 are essentially an educational and not a penal problem. I can think of no greater confession of failure of our society and our whole educational system than that your Lordships should find it necessary to provide a wide variety of penal treatments for little children between the ages of 10 and 12. I should well imagine that 518 there might be a case for very naughty children at the age of 10 being detained in school and made to do extra work in school, preferably of a kind which has some bearing upon the naughtiness of which they are guilty. But I can see no argument, in this day and age, for making them subject to orders which will involve their going to a totally strange attendance centre, which may well be at a considerable distance, even if subsection (3) requires a reasonable distance.
§ There are other arguments against sending these children to attendance, centres. First of all, it has already been found that in the attendance centres the younger children have a lower record of success than the older children. That is one of the findings of the Cambridge Institute of Criminology in their recent report on attendance centres. It is also true that it is impossible at attendance centres to segregate children adequately. If the Bill passes as it stands, the age range will be from 10 to 17, and there will be in the same centre children of different degrees of maturity, different degrees of naughtiness or, in the older age groups, if you like, of wickedness. Separate programmes and proper segregation for these ages is impracticable.
Finally, there is the argument about distance. An Amendment was inserted in another place under which it is now required, by subsection (3), that the attendance centre must be
reasonably accessible to the person concerned, having regard to his age, the availability of public transport and any other circumstances.
I do not think there is such a centre, except for a few children who live quite near the very few attendance centres which already exist. If you take the County of London, I think there is only one attendance centre. In London we are going to great pains to build new schools and design new housing estates, and to arrange matters so that the schools are, if possible, on the same side of the road as most of the houses, so that the children do not have to cross the main roads and are not exposed to unnecessary traffic risks. Children have schools which are within quite short walking distances of their own homes. We take the utmost pains about accessibility. Yet under this provision children of 10 would be required to travel right across London, on unfamiliar roads, in
order to be in attendance at a place which, when they get there, is going to be run not by an educational authority but by the police. There is an extra- ordinary nineteenth-century ring about the clause in this Bill which proposes to impose penal treatment on children of 10 under the instruction and guidance of the police. I beg to move.
Page 7, line 43, leave out subsection (1).—(Baroness Wootton of Abinger)
§ LORD SOMERS
I have great sympathy with the noble Lady's Amendment. Indeed, I should probably vote for it if we could have some assurance that the penalty will rest upon those who are responsible for the crimes—that is. the parents; because there is no doubt that, with children of under 12 whose moral standards have gone wrong, the fault without doubt lies with the parents. or with those persons responsible for the bringing up of the child. I feel that a penalty should lie upon them, rather than upon the child. What form that penalty would take, I leave to those who are more skilled in this matter than I am—a fine, perhaps; or something of that sort. But when one sees, as one does to-day, the extraordinary poor sense of discipline which parents are able to instil into their children, is it any wonder that the children have little regard for the law or, indeed, for any code of discipline whatsoever?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I should like to support the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, in the argument that she put. The difficulty about speaking after her on this sort of matter. is that she puts it so well that there is no point in trying to put it again. Leaving aside these grave matters for the moment, I should like to deprecate the view that if a child under 12 does anything wrong, it is the fault of the parents. I think this argument is being overdone a bit now. Speaking as one who has borne his share of those responsibilities, I think it is frightening people from having children.
I think we must get the question of the attendance centre quite straight. Of course, the noble Lady is an acknowledged expert upon these attendance centres. I suppose she has sent more people, young children and 520 others, to attendance centres than anybody else in your Lordships' House.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I must ask the noble Earl not to make what I can only regard as a slanderous suggestion.
I am quite certain that I am correct in my supposition. But she went on to mention criminals. I am sure the noble Lady did not mean to suggest that young people are going to be mixed with criminals, or are going to be in such a detention centre for a long space of time. At present, the age for these centres varies from 12 to under 21. There are about 40 of these attendance centres, and one experimental centre, a senior centre for the age group 17 and under 21. At present, these persons can be ordered to attend for up to 12 hours, in periods of not less than one hour and not more than three hours at a given time. The aims of the treatment are to vindicate the law by deprivation of leisure time, and to bring the offender for a period under the influence of representatives of authority in the constructive use of leisure. Under the Bill the age limit will be lowered from 12 to 10, and the effect of the noble Lady's Amendment would be to restore the age limit to 12. Also, in suitable cases, under the Bill a court can impose a longer period than 12 hours at the detention centre. I thought I should put that point before your Lordships so that you appreciate what the noble Lady intends by her Amendment.
The noble Lady has given as one of her reasons that children at the age of 10 will be subjected to unfamiliar routes across London and that they are likely to have to go too far from home. I think that from one's ordinary observations one sees a large number of young children going perfectly happily and satisfactorily by public transport very considerable distances. They are sometimes perfectly law-abiding; at other times they are not. I do not think that is a great difficulty. Of course, numbers of attendance centres in a place like the City of London would be a very different matter indeed. The noble Lady also said that it is wrong to compel these younger children (those between 10 and 12), as the Bill would have us do, to go where they do not want to go, or to unfamiliar places. But that is one of the penalties which we set out to administer 521 to offenders of this age, and I do not think any of your Lordships will disagree with me when I say that to-day children are very much older in outlook at the age of 10 than they were a short time ago, even though they are not necessarily older in mentality or responsibility. There is no doubt that very good training and excellent results have been obtained from these attendance centres, though I note what has been said, that possibly at the lower range there has not been a great number of successes.
My information is that there is no difficulty over segregating the age groups of the children, either at present, or in the future when the younger age group is envisaged. Under the rules which govern attendance centres, junior and senior age groups must be segregated. Not only that, but they must carry out different activities, which obviously they would do. They must come on different dates or at different times, if that is possible. That is all written into the rules made under the 1950 Act. There would seem to be no reason why the age groups should not be adjusted to take into account the younger children; or possibly a third age group could be set up in the existing schools. That would depend very much on the numbers and type of children sent there and possibly on the sort of offences they had committed. We believe that there would be no great difficulty in bringing these younger children to the attendance centres. We also believe that by ensuring that the younger children get a start in the sort of correction and discipline (I am sorry to keep coming back to discipline, but there must be some element of discipline lacking in these children or they would not already have come before the courts as offenders) which the attendance centres can give there will be a beneficial effect to that younger group of children. For that reason I hope that the noble Lady will see fit to withdraw her Amendment.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON of ABINGER
I can only say that I find the noble Earl's reply profoundly unsatisfactory, and I cannot help thinking that the idea he has of attendance centres is quite extraordinarily romantic. I hope he will take 522 pains to enlarge his personal acquaintance with them and extend it from the written descriptions with which we are all very familiar. In my experience, the advantage of the attendance centre is that when the child is in the attendance centre it is not anywhere else; and that is the most one can say for it. As they are at present I think the constructive element is extremely small. When the first centre was opened in London, it became apparent that the authorities found, it difficult to decide whether it should be primarily punitive or primarily reformative, and a compromise was reached by which the first hour appeared to be punitive and the second hour reformative. That, I think, puts our dilemma in the absurd position in which it deserves to be.
The noble Earl is also extraordinarily complacent about children he sees, going long distances on public transport, but I do not suppose he enquires whether they are going by unfamiliar routes or going on legitimate or illegitimate errands. I find it hard to reconcile his extraordinary complacency about these children travelling across big cities with the extreme pains we take to prevent them having a substantial distance to travel to school. He also says that they will not mix with criminals. Well, we cannot have it both ways. These children are, technically, criminals; they have been found guilty at the age of 10 of criminal offences. But the people with whom they will mix will also have been found guilty at higher ages of criminal offences, and the probability is that some at least of those found guilty at higher ages have committed offences of a more serious nature and certainly are very much more mature in their whole attitude. Within the attendance centres formal segregation cart take place, but I think that if the noble Earl looks into the matter he will find that it is of a very formal character, and that there must inevitably be contact between the different age groups. In view of the noble Earl's answer, I regret that I do not feel able to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?523
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 40; Not-Contents, 71.
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Harmsworth, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Amwell, L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Ravensdale of Kedleston, B.|
|Arran, E.||Henderson, L.||Rea, L.|
|Ashton of Hyde, L.||Iddesleigh, E.||Shackleton, L.|
|Chester, L. Bp.||Kilbracken, L.||Sinha, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Listowel, E.||Somers, L.|
|Citrine, L.||Longford, E.||Stonham, L. [Teller.]|
|Colwyn, L.||Lucan, E. [Teller.]||Strang, L.|
|Croft, L.||Macpherson of Drumochter, L.||Summerskill, B.|
|Crook, L.||Morrison of Lambeth, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Denning, L.||Moyne, L.||Walston, L.|
|Exeter, L. Bp.||Ogmore, L.||Williams, L.|
|Faringdon, L.||Pethick-Lawrence, L.||Williams of Barnburgh, L.|
|Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Abinger, L.||Fraser of North Cape, L.||McCorquodale of Newton, L|
|Ailwyn, L.||Freyberg, L.||Margesson, V.|
|Albemarle, E.||Furness, V.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.|
|Allerton, L.||Geddes, L.||Merrivale, L.|
|Baden-Powell, L.||Goschen, V.||Milverton, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Gosford, E.||Montgomery of Alamein, V.|
|Bethell, L.||Hailsham, V. (L. President.)||Newall, L.|
|Birdwood, L.||Hamilton of Dalzell, L.||Newton, L. [Teller.]|
|Brecon, L.||Hampton, L.||Robins, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Hastings, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Carrington, L.||Hawke, L.||St. Oswald, L.|
|Cawley, L.||Horsbrugh, B.||Salisbury, M.|
|Chelmsford, V.||Howard of Glossop, L.||Selborne, E.|
|Chesham, L.||Howe, E.||Somerleyton, L.|
|Cholmondeley, M.||Jellicoe, E.||Spens, L.|
|Cork and Orrery, E.||Jessel, L.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Crawshaw, L.||Killearn, L.||Swinton, E.|
|Davidson, V.||Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Teviot, L.|
|Denham, L.||Kinnoull, E.||Teynham, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||Lambert, V.||Twining, L.|
|Exeter, M.||Lansdowne, M.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Ferrers, E.||Limerick, E.||Waleran, L.|
|Ferrier, L.||Long, V.||Wolverton, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Luke, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ 5.16 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "public". The noble Earl said: I am moving to leave out the word "public" in this proviso as it seems to me in certain circumstances unnecessarily to limit the discretion of the court. I entirely agree that if it is the case of a child in a large city getting to an attendance centre in the middle of a large city, public transport is the primary and perhaps the only consideration; but if it is the case of a country child going to an attendance centre, it may be on the outskirts of a city—and. after all, one supposes that in the course of time more attendance centres will be established—I see no particular reason why the courts should not take into consideration the possibility of the child bicycling there. He would 524 probably bicycle to school in any case if he is an older child. I see no reason why the court should not. in some circumstances, arrange for the parents or somebody else to drive him there. It may be quite reasonable for the magistrates in a juvenile court, where the parents are, or at any rate always should be. in attendance, to say to the parents, "We do not want to punish your child more severely; we think that a few attendances at an attendance centre is what he needs. We expect you to run him in to the attendance centre". A car-owning family can do that with minimum inconvenience. I beg to move.
Page 8, line 15. leave out ("public")—(The Earl of Iddesleigh.)
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I think I am speaking for those who sit on these Benches when I say that we should not wish to oppose this Amendment.
I want to assure the noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, that his Amendment really is not necessary. If he will look just above the line in which his Amendment would come, in line 14, he will see the words "reasonably accessible". By that the court would be able to consider all other means of transport. I have no doubt that the noble Earl is thinking in particular of a bicycle. Of course, much would depend upon the type and age of the child, the offence and so forth. I want to assure him that such a matter is not precluded from the consideration of the court, and therefore his Amendment is unnecessary.
Is the noble Earl quite sure? The clause most definitely says in a lower line "public transport". Is that word "public" operative? In any case, is there any objection to taking out the word "public"?
I am quite satisfied with the phrasereasonably accessible to the person concerned, having regard to his age, the availability of public transport"—which the noble Earl would like to see left out—and any other circumstances.I am quite certain that the court would not he precluded from taking all those considerations into account.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think there is, as a matter of fact. The point is that the court have to have regard to the availability or otherwise of public transport, because that is a most material consideration to which it is specifically desired to draw their attention; but it is not the only factor.
§ LORD PARKER OF WADDINGTON
It is a pity that lawyers sometimes differ. but as a matter of construction I cannot conceive a court saying that they have regard tothe availability of public transport and any other circumstancesand that in consideringany other circumstancesthey can have regard to private transport. It seems to me quite wrong in construction.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I would suggest to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice, for whose helpful intervention I am grateful, that the governing matter in regard to the attendance centre is that it should be reasonably accessible. That governs the whole matter. Then the court that is deciding has to have regard to, first,his age",secondly,the availability of public transport and",thirdly,any other circumstances.If my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice will refresh his memory from a case in the Court of Appeal before he adorned that Court, he will, I think, come to the same conclusion as I do at the present moment: that if the words "having regard" appeared, the effect is that the person on whom the duty is placed to have regard must apply his mind to that matter; but, of course, he need not accept it as a governing consideration. Therefore, the effect of this is that the court must be satisfied that the centre is reasonably accessible, and they must consider the age and the availability of public transport or any other relevant circumstances; but they are not compelled to be governed by that fact. It might be, of course, that a boy was within 300 or 400 yards of the centre and it was immaterial as to whether there was public transport or not.
I think everyone would agree that the court ought to say, "How old is the boy? How far off is the centre? And"—if the centre is a certain distance—" is there public transport; and, if there is not, is it likely that this boy would have a bicycle or get there any other way?" I should deprecate the court's not looking at this consideration, but in my view it need not govern the matter. I think it would be better to leave it, in the interests of the children, quite apart from the dialectical delight we get from contradicting each other.
§ BARONESS HORSBRUGH
If the word "public" were taken out and the words were "the availability of 527 transport", would not the court have to consider public transport as well as other transport?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Yes; I think they would have to consider that. But this directs their mind clearly to the existence of a bus service or something of that kind; and I think it is important that they should consider whether there is a bus service if the attendance centre is any distance from the home.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
When I put down a humble drafting Amendment, I little supposed that I should evoke a conflict between the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England. It will be an interesting position when the law is explained to a bench of magistrates in their court: "Your worships must choose between the opinion of the Lord Chancellor and that of the Lord Chief Justice". If that is considered by Her Majesty's Government to be a satisfactory position, I shall gladly withdraw the Amendment. But I should be grateful if it might have a little fleeting consideration before the next stage. On that assurance, I beg leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 10 agreed to.
§ 5.35 p.m.
. Subsection (1) of section forty-three of the Prison Act, 1952, shall be amended by the addition of the following words:
(d) training centres, that is to say places in which persons not less than fourteen but under twenty-one years of age (in respect of whom any court may make a probation order) may attend for a period of hours each day and in which such training and instruction shall be given as will conduce to their reformation and the prevention of crime.
§ The noble Earl said: This is an Amendment to which we attach the greatest importance. When I say "we", I am authorised to speak for the Labour Peers, but it is certainly no kind of Party issue. In fact I believe that the plan involved in this Amendment is one which commands widespread support in all parts of your Lordships' House.
§ The Amendment, if it were accepted or carried, would lead to the establish- 528 ment of training centres for young offenders between 14 and 21. It would lead to the initiation of training outside institutions. The particular plan which I shall be placing before the House (though the Amendment, of course, does not confine itself to one particular plan) in these few words has come to be known in recent months as the Henriques plan. Certainly no name commands more widespread admiration in this field than that of Sir Basil Henriques, although he would be the first to disclaim the personal credit which he in fact deserves for bringing this plan so forcefully before the minds of the public.
§ In the form in which he and we are advocating it, the proposed training centre scheme (to use his own expression) is based upon, but is by no means the same as, the centre which has worked so well for 25 years at Boston Massachusetts. While that experience at Boston is certainly very relevant, I hope no one will argue that something quite different would be necessary here, because in fact what is now proposed is an adaptation. I indicated on Second Reading that in the minds of many of us this plan contains the germ of a whole new approach to the prevention of crime and the rescue of young delinquents.
§ Few of us can doubt that existing methods are proving inadequate. In that respect, and in that respect only, agree, if I am in order in saying so, with the noble Earl who is to move the next Amendment; though I totally reject the solution that the noble Earl proposes, for reasons that will no doubt be set out by one speaker or another when the next Amendment is taken. But I agree with him in saying that at the moment we have not the equipment we should have for dealing with young delinquents. Moreover, there are material reasons which make it unlikely that we shall make a very effective attack on youthful delinquency in the next few years. Those reasons do not do us much credit, because they simply represent the fact that we have refused to devote a sufficient part of our national resources to coping with delinquency.
§ Apart from those material factors, there is a more fundamental, a more human, reason which leads many of us to consider that we are not adequately 529 armed in this struggle to overcome delinquency if we rely, in the main, on two well-known courses. I refer, on the one hand, to the mild supervision which is provided by our splendid but hopelessly overworked probation officers (and I am afraid that there is no sign of their being less overworked, as may come out later in the discussion), and, on the other, to the various forms of detention, which involve incarceration away from their families with other young delinquents in institutions, whether we choose to call them prisons, borstals, remand homes. approved schools or detention centres. or whether, in the process of some revolution, we give them some new, fancy name. There is that course open to us—a course which I am not saying can be disposed of altogether—of locking up these young people in some kind of penal institution.
§ But we who are supporting this Amendment—and I hope that the Government themselves wilt support it—believe that there is a third way open to us, and that there are limited possibilities of success if we pursue this third way of compulsory training of a constructive character outside institutions. To-day, we are not asking for support for what might be called the full doctrine. We are not asking those who vote for this Amendment to go with us all the way along that road. Because who knows how far it will lead in the next five or ten years? All we are asking the Committee to do is to take the first few steps along what I may call the road of this new plan.
§ Under the scheme put forward by Sir Basil Henriques (I do not want the Committee to think we are tied to every detail; your Lordships will see that the Amendment is fairly general) boys who are failing on probation, or whose crimes are too serious for ordinary probation, would be ordered by the bench, as a condition of their probation order, to attend a training centre for two hours on every weekday evening for a period of three months (that, of course, would be ten hours a week), and then to report back to the court at the end of that period. If the report was a good one, the probationer could be conditionally discharged; if only fair, probation could be continued; and if bad, the bench would send him for residential training. It will be noticed that the plan as I have explained it would involve the 530 young person in a total of 130 hours' training. There is nothing magical, of course, about this figure of 130 hours. It is not mentioned in the Amendment on the Paper, and there is no witchcraft in any of the particular details which Sir Basil has set out in his various writings to the Press. It seemed right, however, to present a concrete scheme of that kind to the Committee, because otherwise there might be some questioning in the minds of noble Lords as to whether anybody had worked this out at all. It might be thought to be an agreeable academic exercise, but not practical.
§ I think it is right, therefore, to explain at least one way in which someone who has given enormous thought to it has suggested that it could be applied. There are obviously a great many advantages. It is clearly a very cheap method compared with residential treatment. Sir Basil reckons that it would cost £75 to £100 per boy, instead of the £500, or more, required for residential training. It would be totally different, not only in degree but in kind, from the work at the attendance centres which we were discussing just now. The hours at the attendance centres have been limited to 12, and now, in certain circumstances, they will go up to 24. Nobody supposes that it will be possible to carry out any thorough reformation of a young boy in those few hours. Then, of course although there is nothing in the law which places the attendance centres in the hands of the police, they are, I think, in all cases but two, run by the police: and the police, with all their many virtues, cannot be looked upon as trained for the purposes of reformation.
§ In the 130 hours which, at any rate for the purposes of illustration, we suggest should be spent at one of these centres, some really constructive reformatory treatment could be achieved. There would be a real chance. as there certainly cannot be at the attendance centres, of changing the whole outlook of the young man for the better. I hope that nobody who favours more severe punishments—and I do not say this disparagingly of those who do favour more severe punishments—will suppose that here we are proposing a soft option. It will be, and it is intended to be, a real deterrent. Nobody could suppose that a young person will view with 531 equanimity the loss of his liberty every weekday evening for a considerable period.
§ There are a number of other advantages which Sir Basil has set out in various writings, and which may be mentioned by other speakers. I will mention only two. We were told just now that very often (indeed, in the case of young children it was suggested always) the parents are to blame. The children, of course, would not all be as young as those to whom the noble Lord, Lord Somers, referred just now. While I would not go so far as to say that parents are always to blame, it is in fact the plain case that the parents of the children at these attendance centres are often remarkably indifferent, and no doubt many of the parents with whom we should be concerned at these training centres would also be of the indifferent type. Too often parents of that sort are apt to "put their feet up" when their children are taken off to the attendance centre. But with the training centre, the parents would be induced, persuaded, to take a keen interest in the work of the centre; and in that way I think (or I would hope) one would induce a more responsible attitude on the part of these negligent parents.
§ The Guardian believes (I think other papers share this view, but the Guardian expressed it very strongly yesterday in its leading article) that our Amendment would put into the hands of the court "an instrument of great promise". I hope with all my heart that the House will share that view. If your Lordships do share that view, that here is "an instrument of great promise", I earnestly hope that you will not allow yourselves to be retarded at this stage by any recital of practical difficulties. There are bound to be questions to be answered when the time comes—and I hope the time will come very soon—for the implementation of this plan. If I may, I will mention a few practical details. The scheme could be carried out in other ways, but these, at any rate, seem sensible suggestions
§ The centre could be held in a school when the work was over. Sir Basil himself has suggested (and it seems to me the right idea) that the principal and the deputy should be full-time. highly-trained social workers, but the remainder 532 would be part-time, and would be recruited from teachers or others interested in youth. If I am asked what would be done in these centres, my reply is that there would certainly be a good deal of physical training, but also education, and particularly education in reading and writing for the illiterate, and also training in the arts and handicrafts. But when putting forward this Amendment I do not think one can be expected to be tied at this stage to a very detailed scheme as to what should be done in the centres.
§ I hope that no one will tell us that the technical difficulties of finding premises or staff must be solved before we put this idea on the Statute Book. After all, we are short of social workers in many fields, and we are also short of premises. We are terribly short of probation officers and prison staff, but I hope that that will not prevent us from carrying out certain proposals in this Bill which will ultimately mean an enormous increase in the duties of probation officers. We have not yet secured remand centres and detention centres on the scale promised, but we have not on that account refrained from putting certain plans into the Bill. I would sum up the matter in this way. If we believe in this scheme, if we believe in this new approach as a solution—not, of course, to all our difficulties, but to many of them—then I would venture to suggest, with great respect, that we have no right to delay further. I hope that the whole Committee, led by the Government, will join in supporting this idea and in accepting this Amendment.
After Clause 10, insert the said new clause.—(The Earl of Longford.)
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT of HARWOOD
I wonder whether I might say a word on this Amendment, because it is of particular interest to me, and I hope also that I shall have the support of your Lordships in what I am going to say. I think the Amendment is an admirable one. I am a member of the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders, and this matter was discussed by them at their last meeting. We are as concerned as everybody in your Lordships' House in trying to find ways and means by which we can help in the question of delinquency, particularly juvenile delinquency. We were much attracted by 533 the suggestion put forward by Sir Basil Henriques in the Press and elsewhere, that here was a way in which we might try to find some new 'methods of handling these boys and girls. He talked only of boys, but I think we might be able to find some kind of scheme which would include girls.
The position now is that the Advisory Council has set up a sub-committee to go into the question of the nonresidential treatment of young offenders. The Chairman of the Advisory Council, Mr. Justice Barry, asked me whether I would be chairman of the sub-committee, which I have most gladly accepted, because I feel tremendously keenly that this is a great challenge, and that we ought to be able to do something constructive, new and forward-looking in this scheme.
The noble Earl has rightly said that there are difficulties. Of course there are. There are difficulties in the whole of this problem. If it were an easy problem, none of us would be sitting here discussing it, hour after hour. It is one of the greatest challenges and greatest problems of the present day. Here is a proposal that we try to deal with these delinquent children, not by residential treatment but by keeping them in the community and in the home. I think it is most important to keep them in the community; and if we can keep them in the home, and by that have some influence on the home as well, we shall be doing a very good job indeed. There is the question of accommodation, and how we are to carry out this training. Even more important is how to find the right personnel, and still more important is the kind of curriculum that we want to put into these schools, the type of work, and the new ideas that we want to find. Well, that is all in the future. I hope very much that we shall get the help and the advice of a great many people throughout the country. It is my intention, as chairman of the sub-committee, to try to find as many original ideas and to try to see and interview as many people who are accustomed to dealing with young people in this way as I possibly can, in order to have as wide a scope as possible for this kind of training.
Already we are very fortunate in that one of our number is in the United States on another job, and he has 534 instantly been asked if he will go to see this training centre in Boston, and bring us back a first-hand report. I hope that the noble Ladies and Lords opposite will feel that we are getting quickly off the mark. I had hoped to call a meeting of the sub-committee almost immediately, but unfortunately, due to holidays and one thing and another, it is not going to be possible to get them together quite as fast as I should wish. However, I hope that we shall work swiftly, because this is an urgent matter. We shall not try to cover an enormous amount of ground, because by doing that you very often lose the impetus you want to achieve, but we shall do what we can to make this a really constructive committee, and to make a constructive report to the Advisory Council.
I hope that we shall report in the autumn. If we do, and if the Advisory Council accepts our Report, then I am sure we shall have no delay from the Home Secretary, who is extremely interested in this subject, and most anxious to give every support he can. I have not discussed with the noble Viscount or the Lord Chancellor whether or not they are intending to accept this Amendment, but all I can say is that it is exactly in the spirit of what the Advisory Council is anxious to do, that we have the support of the Home Secretary, and that already, in so far as it is possible, we are starting. I can promise your Lordships that I will do my best, as chairman of this group, to make a report as fast as I possibly can.
§ BARONESS RAVENSDALE OF KEDLESTON
I will detain you for only one moment. In view of the long hours that we have spent on this Bill, and the immense delays, which we have seen day after day in discussion, over the building of remand homes, may I beg Her Majesty's Government to add this clause of the noble Earl to their Bill, for the supremely important reason that on this occasion, which has been stressed so often in these debates, the machinery is to hand for these training centres. The school buildings are there. Moreover, there arises in my mind the fact that we cannot in this long discussion deal only with the boys who must go to borstal or an approved school. Probation is not enough, and the detention centres are 535 crammed. But are there not countless boys, and, as the noble Lady has said, also girls, who are on the fringe of crime and evil, who might be saved by the noble Lord's scheme for these training centres? As we have already heard, the staff can be found, and might be found or recruited from borstal and approved schools. I do not deny that the principal and deputy must be full-time and well paid. I know their jobs, and these jobs that are going round can be filled. Otherwise, if this cannot be considered, we whirl around in a vicious circle of delay.
This scheme is to hand. As we have heard, approved schools cost £10 a day. We have heard what Sir Basil said: that the schools can be opened and run for from £75 to £100 per boy.
May I, lastly, say to your Lordships, please do not always think of costs, costs, costs. Please consider these children, our future citizens, and save them before they fall into deeper crime. I do not deny that we need all possible co-operation from their homes and their background, because a difficult parent might wreck the boy's training. Not nearly enough has been said, I am afraid, about the parents' responsibility in some of these disastrous cases which we have been covering, and I regret that there has not at the same time been a clause to try to deal with the parents. That is too late now, but I beg of you to consider this clause and its proposals, in order to save more children from the shocking upbringing which is the background of so many in these days.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
I rise to support the Amendment which has been so ably moved by my noble friend Lord Longford. I think it is a useful, constructive proposal, which would provide a valuable alternative for the various means we now have of dealing with young people who get into trouble. The noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, supported the Amendment in principle, I think it is fair to say; but she said that it was under consideration by the Advisory Council: she evidently had some feeling of optimism that the Advisory Council might report this way, but she could not be sure. So she suggested that we had better wait until the Advisory Coun 536 cil reported, which would be in the autumn.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
What I said was that I was Chairman of the group that had been asked by the Advisory Council to make a report on this type of non-residential training, and that I wanted to assure your Lordships that I would do it as fast as I possibly could. My report will go to the Advisory Council and then to the Home Secretary. I did not suggest that this Amendment had to be delayed. I simply wanted to tell your Lordships that the matter was already in hand.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
I am much obliged. Then I gather that the noble Lady will vote for the Amendment. Obviously, if she does not want this Amendment to wait for that report, she must vote for it this afternoon. All I was going to say was that, if it was suggested we should hold over until the Advisory Council had dealt with this proposal, and the Home Secretary had come to conclusions, if we miss this opportunity of amending the Bill, even though the Home Secretary may have a favourable report to make and may come to a favourable decision, we might have to wait another five or ten years for another Criminal Justice Bill. And that would be, I think the noble Lady would agree, very unfortunate. Therefore, I am relieved to find that she will vote for the Amendment.
This problem of the teenager who breaks out or goes wrong, or does something naughty, is one of the most difficult and worrying problems of our time. We must not, of course, get the impression that all teenagers are a bad lot. The great bulk of them are decent young people. They are all right when they behave themselves in a proper manner. I suppose there was talk about the problems of the juvenile delinquent before the last war; I am sure there was. Nevertheless, out of these young teenagers came the Armed Forces, especially the Royal Air Force which had to play such an individual part in the war. They proved themselves very brave, as well as very adventurous, and we ought not to forget that. I say that because it is tempting, with the amount of space devoted to the problem in the Press, for us to think that the numbers of young people who go wrong are more than the 537 number in fact, or that the seriousness of the offences they commit is greater than perhaps it is—because some of their offences are quite limited and do not present a real problem.
There are various channels by which this problem can be dealt with. I agree that it would not be fair always to blame the parents, some of whom have a tough job to do. But some of the parents are to blame, and there may be cases where it is the parent, rather than the child, who ought to be punished. Parents must realise their responsibility, though it must be admitted that in some cases these little rascals get out of control even when the parents have done their best in the matter. Then there is the policeman who can play a good part, and does play a good part, in these matters. I am a devoted follower of "Dixon of Dock Green" on Saturday nights. Unfortunately, the programme has now stopped. There is a policeman after my own heart and he does look after people. Not only does he get them into trouble, but he spends more time in keeping them out of trouble.
Unfortunately, as I think I told your Lordships once before, the policeman of to-day is so limited in what he can do that he cannot play as good a part as he once could. I told your Lordships the story of how we used to play cricket and football between the lamp-posts in the back streets of Stockwell, and if the policeman caught us (because we were liable to break anybody's windows, and sometimes did) he would come quietly up with a rather thick black glove in his pocket, give us a flip on the ear with it, and say, "Now, young feller-me-lad, don't let me catch you doing that again". It frightened us out of our lives and we were good for about a fortnight or three weeks, or perhaps more. That was better than hauling children before the court. To-day if a policeman does that, he will be hauled up before a disciplinary board, and this is because of reformers who are over-sentimental, over-soft and over-silly. I should not like a policeman to get brutal; I would pull him up for that. But a flip on the ear with a glove which has a good preventive effect was, in my experience, very good, did us no harm and a lot of good. So much for the policeman.
Then there is probation. I join with others in paying my tribute to the pro- 538 bation officers. They have a difficult job to do. It is not a job to run after, as is evident from the fact that there is difficulty in securing them. But if they like the job they become devoted to it, and that is a useful exercise. But sometimes they cannot bring the necessary authority to bear. There is also the approved school—though that entirely stops the child's liberty for the time being. And, my goodness! it is shockingly costly to the ratepayers and taxpayers. What the children cost there, compared with what they cost at home, is nobody's business. It cannot be helped; they are bound to be expensive in institutions. They have a good time there. In a way, these schools are a sort of residential public school. It is a pity that the children have to go there; however, such schools must be pre-served. The same is true of borstal, which is rather more serious. It is a terrible name; I wish we had a better one. And finally, there is prison, which is naturally to be avoided.
My noble friend has now come along with this additional channel of possible treatment. The scheme will want proper staffing. It will want the right people to run it, because some of these youngsters will be difficult. But I think he is right. If we can find a means whereby there may be opportunities to put youngsters to useful activity which is both interesting, and, if possible, somewhat adventurous, that is a new channel of treatment and reformation which is well worth trying. I would urge upon Her Majesty's Government, having regard to the limitations of all these other methods of correction, which I thought it right to describe because they are all relevant to this discussion, that they might give sympathetic consideration to the proposal which my noble friend has made.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
I hope that the Government will accept this proposal. It is not a new one; it is merely overdue. An almost exact proposal was embodied in the Criminal Justice Bill produced by the Conservative Government in 1938, and abandoned only because of the war. The centre was then called an "attendance centre", and the only difference was that it included adults. That was because it was thought that, for instance, when a rich man drove a car too fast, 539 you did not want to send him to prison, and a fine would make very little difference, but if you told him that he had to spend his Saturday afternoons scrubbing the floors of the local police station, instead of playing golf, it would be a very useful way of dealing with him. Chat principle was accepted—this form of part-time treatment—by the Conservative Government. Therefore I hope that the present Government will not reject this proposal in this limited sphere. We all sympathise with what the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, has said, as to how much he dislikes having to send young people to prison, to borstal, and so forth. This would place another useful weapon in the hands of the Judiciary so that they would have greater flexibility in dealing with young people who come before them. Therefore I hope the Government will accept the Amendment.
§ LORD AMWELL
In spite of what was said by the noble Baroness opposite, quite a lot has been said in the debates on this Bill about the responsibility of parents. That has been referred to in speech after speech. I am not going to take up much time on this point, because it is a fundamental question rather than one particularly addressed to this Amendment, but the matter has been raised. I think it is about time that someone spoke up for the parents, or at least for some of them. I know that what I am about to say will enrage Lady Wootton of Abinger, certainly Lady Summerskill, but it is—I have not said anything yet.
§ LORD AMWELL
Please do not miss it for the world! What I was going to say was this: that the problem of responsibility is a fundamental problem, a very deep one indeed. We are not really considering it. I do not know that we are called upon in this Bill to consider it very deeply, but the subject has been raised and statements have been made. The point I want to put is this. There are in this country to-day over four minion married women who work in industry. I defy any noble Lord, or noble Lady, to say that a woman can run a home, however humble, do the 540 chores of the home—and we all know what that means—look after children properly, and go and do a day's work, day after day, in industry of any kind.
I know that the argument is that they are getting double pay, but that is not good enough for me. They have to get double pay because they cannot live on single pay—and must prove that we are an affluent society, which is swallowed by some of us on the Labour Benches. If the point is that some of the pay is spent in helping with the home, surely what we are doing is making the slave of the sink some other poor devil of a woman who does the housework for pay. We have women working in industry who are unable to look after their children, and then wonder why we have problems of child neglect. The "latchkey kid" is a fact. I know some of the consequences of that fact, even in the nice quarter in which I live—Hampstead. There is plenty of it there. That is one of the problems we have to face.
It is all very well talking about centres, about whether parents are responsible, about whether this officer or that officer should come into the picture. I suggest that we ought to give some attention to the fundamentals of the problem. I am all for women's rights, in industry or anywhere else. I am not attacking the career women or the copy typist or the single woman. But when women's rights means children's wrongs, I think that something should be said about it. It is a fact to-day that when women go to work in industry, their children are neglected. Why do we not consider it from a fundamental point of view and not always from a superficial one?
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
As my noble friend referred to me, may I remind him that there was a Home Office inquiry on the point he made with regard to delinquent children, and the conclusion they arrived at was entirely opposite to that at which my noble friend has arrived?
§ LORD AMWELL
The answer to that is that the conclusion I have arrived at is my own, from my own observation.
I wanted to say, for the encouragement of the noble Earl, Lord Longford, if it is any encouragement, that my noble friends on the Liberal Benches will unanimously support the Amendment.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
The distressing thing about the debates during the past two days has been our constant references to places of detention. Our one idea, in so many contexts, is to shut up the offender, and the really encouraging thing about this Amendment is that it produces a constructive proposal which does not involve shutting up. Shutting up is sometimes necessary for the protection of the community from dangerous persons, but it is always a confession of failure. All places of detention, be they prisons, be they detention centres, be they remand homes used as places of detention, are artificial communities, and the qualities that make for success in those places are not necessarily those which make for success in the world outside. The qualities that make the good prisoner are by no means those that make the good husband and the good workman. This goes for both sexes. The qualities which make the good female prisoner are not necessarily those which make the good wife or even the good workwoman.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, said, the great merit of this proposal is that it keeps these young people in the community, and it is in the community, and not in prison or in detention centre, that they will have to live. May I say how glad I was to hear the noble Lady say that the subcommittee, of which she is chairman, is going to consider not only the method of establishing these centres but also the not less important question of what is going to be done in them? We are all too apt to think that by creating an institution, without regard to what happens there, we have found a constructive solution of our problem. That is not so. I hope that the noble Lady's sub-committee will do fundamental new thinking on this subject and try to make the character of these institutions fit the needs of the young people who attend them.
One of the saddest features of our discussions has been almost the pride with which we have spoken of new institutions of detention that we are hoping 542 to create. Detention centres are to be built; remand homes are to be built; new prisons are to be built. The time will come, and I hope it will come soon, when these institutions will become museums and tourists will visit them with the astonished curiosity with which they now visit some parts of the Tower of London. The merit of this Amendment is that it takes a definite step towards bringing that time nearer.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I agree with the noble Baroness that one of the problems which we are facing in the course of this Bill, but on which we do not want to dwell too much on the Committee stage, is that we regard detention in some form as a form of treatment for crime. Whether or not Wormwood Scrubs, in the happy day when it is no longer tenanted by prisoners, will actually prove a tourist attraction is a matter on which I should not at this stage desire to give an opinion.
If I may revert to the Amendment, I think that there are three separate aspects which have to be considered. The first is the advisability of a system of treatment referred to as a training centre. I do not wish to be pedantic, but the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, will forgive me for saying that this is not the same idea as the attendance centre. There are already 40 of these attendance centres in existence, enacted under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, and working quite well. They are not the same thing, and if they were, it would be quite unnecessary to move an Amendment to render them lawful, as they are already provided by the 1948 Act.
As the noble Earl, Lord Longford, remarked, his suggestion is based on the proposal of Sir Basil Henriques for the establishment of training centres in this country similar to the Citizen Training Centre which has been operating in Boston, Massachusetts, for a number of years—I think the noble Earl said 25. It is fair to add that the proposal not only has the support of many noble Lords, including those who spoke on Second Reading, of whom there were several, but also the support of the Magistrates' Association.
I think it is desirable that I should state some of the characteristics of the Boston plan, although I would agree with the noble Earl that we cannot simply 543 translate an American institution into the context of the British system—and it might even be difficult to translate an English institution into the context of the Scottish system. In Boston, a juvenile court has power to put a boy aged 12 and under 17 who has broken the law provisionally on probation, with the requirement that he shall attend the training, centre for two hours a day five afternoons a week for three months—that is, for 130 hours in all—the figure mentioned for this scheme. He is brought back before the court at, or, if necessary, before the end of, this time, and the court, by that time armed with reports on the offender by the staff of the centre, comes to a final decision about his disposal.
Thus, if the offender has not done well, he may be committed to some form of residential training; or he may continue on probation, relieved of further obligation to attend the training centre; or his probation may be terminated if he is judged not to need further supervision. On a boy's admission to the centre, arrangements are made for him to have a medical examination and any necessary medical treatment, and to be given psychological tests. In Boston, the programme of activities includes physical training, handicrafts, music and drama; and there are also remedial reading classes for those who need them. Apart from punishment and training, the centre thus combines functions of which some would, in this country, be the responsibility of the National Health Service, the education authorities, and the observation element of the remand homes.
That is the idea. It is obvious that there are questions to be considered and, as my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor informed the House on Second Reading [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 230 (No. 72), col. 1161] the Home Secretary has asked his Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders,To consider whether there is scope in this country for new methods of non-residential treatment of offenders under 21, with particular reference to the provision of training on the lines of that provided by the Citizen Training Centre in Boston".Your Lordships have heard from the lips of my noble friend Baroness Elliot of Harwood that the action taken by the Advisory Council was to appoint her to be the chairman of a sub-com- 544 mittee to inquire into this proposal. I think the Committee will have probably formed the impression from my noble friend's speech that, despite the impartiality which is expected of a chairman to investigate into a proposal, it may not receive wholly unsympathetic consideration. Therefore 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.
The second question, however—and this, I think, is not quite so easy to answer, and certainly I cannot answer it definitely this afternoon—is whether the necessary legislative framework for the proposal, on the assumption that my noble friend's report is as favourable as it shows some signs of being, could be put into the Bill before Report. That I cannot say this afternoon. But I will, in view of the obvious advantages which would be obtained if it were possible to take advantage of this Bill to introduce enabling powers to this effect, try to get an answer as quickly as possible. We had no idea, when I was (to use a cant phrase) briefed to reply to this Amendment, that my noble friend was going to be quite so forthcoming this afternoon, and, therefore, to that extent, I must confess not to have been fully prepared for the ordeal which I now undergo. But our thinking had been that it would be necessary to introduce separate legislation.
I appreciate, however, what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth: that it is always better if one can take advantage of an existing Bill. I am sure that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, who is Leader in another place, will also see the advantages of utilising what legislative time is available in this Session. I cannot, I think, say more this afternoon; I am sorry it is not more, but I must reserve that position.
I have no doubt that the noble Earl, Lord Longford, is not going to stand upon every word of the Amendment, as it is framed.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It was put down, I take it, to secure a discussion of this proposal and to secure what sympathy was possible from the Committee and what action was possible from the Government. But obviously it would 545 not do in itself. It is a proposal to amend the Prison Act, 1952; and that is all. It amends it in form only by the provision of places in addition to remand centres, detention centres, and borstal institutions, as a new paragraph (d) to subsection (1) of Section 43 of that Act. I do not think it would be at all easy to infer from the Amendment, as drafted, that the court has any power to impose this treatment on anybody. It simply says that certain persons may attend; and I imagine that "may" must mean "must", and that somebody must have the power to order attendance. I think it is impossible to infer from the Amendment what the noble Earl means in the way of courts to impose the treatment, and I do not think we could possibly say that this was an adequate legislative framework, as it stands.
§ LORD STONHAM
Is it not the case that, since it is a probation order, it must be voluntary and the person must agree to the probation order?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
That is precisely one of the questions which I think my right honourable friend will want to look into; it is precisely why this section, in our view, is not an adequate legislative framework. One of the possibilities clearly would be to make attendance at such a training centre a condition of a probation order. Whether or not it would be possible under the existing law, or whether it ought to be spelt more definitely into that law, if that is adjudged the proper course, I should not like to give an opinion about without further consideration, especially in the presence of the Lord Chief Justice, who lurks on the Cross Benches for unwary members of his profession, even though they are fortified with powerful reserves. I think it is seriously open to question as to whether this would be the right way of introducing this particular reform; that is to say, whether it would be right to do it solely by making it a condition of a probation order.
At any rate, our thinking had been that it could hardly be right to rely on those provisions alone for a requirement which, on the Boston pattern, must involve a substantial loss of leisure (ten hours weekly for thirteen weeks) when there is the special provision in Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, to which I have already drawn the attention of the 546 Committee, for only twelve hours' attendance at an attendance centre. If training centres of the kind proposed were set up, it is, at any rate, our thinking at the present time that specific statutory provisions governing their use by the courts would have to be enacted; and the form of these provisions could finally be decided only when the questions of policy had been settled. The expression in the Amendment is itself in the most general terms, as the noble Earl quite rightly said—and I do not treat that at all as a criticism at the present stage of thinking. But I do think that sooner or later we shall have to spell into the clause a little more legislative background before the courts could easily operate it in practice.
I would therefore ask the Committee and the noble Earl to yield to my persuasion at this stage. I recognise that the proposal has received the almost unanimous and obviously enthusiastic support of those who have been present in the Committee this afternoon; and I recognise the advantages, if it be possible, of taking this legislative opportunity of introducing enabling legislation, should that be the desire of the Committee. I cannot say more than that this afternoon. As I told your Lordships before, I was expecting to make a more cautious reply, because I had not expected my noble friend to express quite the same degree of enthusiasm about the subject which she was proposing to investigate. I hope, therefore, that I may have the indulgence of the Committee, and that the noble Earl will not press me too far under the Amendment to the exact legislative proposal which he has put forward with such a high degree of support from various sides.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
The noble Viscount said that he found himself in a rather unexpected position, in that he had, as it were, to think rather fast on his feet. He has transferred that obligation to me for the next moment or two. I hope it will not be thought threatening—I never dare threaten either the noble Viscount or the House—if I make it absolutely plain that, unless we can get something to this effect at the next stage, we shall divide the House. I want to make that quite plain. I intended this evening to divide the House unless the Government indicated their 547 support for the principle of this Amendment. But the noble Viscount has been so helpful in his reply that I think it would be discourteous and ungracious if I tried to divide the House now. I say nothing about the result—I know not what that would be now as compared with another day—but I make it plain that we shall divide next time, with whatever support we can muster, unless the Government put in something to this effect. I hope the noble Viscount will be able to satisfy us on the next stage. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ EARL FERRERS moved, after Clause 10 to insert the following new clause:
§ Corporal punishment for young offenders
§ ". On a second or subsequent conviction for a crime of violence for whatever purpose committed, a court shall have the power to pass a sentence of corporal punishment as an alternative to a sentence of detention in remand homes, detention centres, Borstal institutions or prison on young male offenders, such punishment to be with the cane up to the age of seventeen years and with the birch for offenders of more than seventeen but less than twenty-one years of age."
§ The noble Earl said: In rising to move this Amendment, I feel that I should make one apology, and that is that I should move what may prove to be one of the most controversial Amendments of the Bill. But the mere fact that the subject of my Amendment is controversial is, to my mind, justification in itself for considering it. The mere fact that it is controversial means that strong views are held on this subject on all sides, and I think it is right—and I hope your Lordships will agree with me—that these views should be fully ventilated. They should be ventilated not in a spirit of anger and animosity, not in a spirit of passion or bitterness, but in a spirit of constructiveness and understanding, with the full realisation that whatever views one may hold, and however strongly one may hold them, there are others who hold views in direct opposition and in direct contradiction to one's own, yet who hold them with equal conviction and equal sincerity.
§ In loose parlance, this Amendment has been referred to as the "flogging Amendment". I should like to qualify that on two grounds. First, it does not 548 concern flogging, which in general terms implies the cat. Nobody wishes to see the return of the cat, and nobody is suggesting it. This Amendment refers merely to the limited use, in certain circumstances, of the birch and cane. Secondly, the term "flogging Amendment" implies that, were this Amendment accepted, there would be a widespread return to whipping. That, I believe, would be far from the case. It seeks merely to give the courts limited powers, so that, after they have heard all the facts of the case, after they have taken into consideration the offender and his mentality, after they have taken into consideration the interests of the offender and the interests of the public, after they have satisfied themselves that he is a repeated offender, then, and only then, can the administration of corporal punishment be even considered. Then the courts will have to satisfy themselves that in each particular case the use of corporal punishment will be more suitable and more just than the use of any other of the punishments or sentences which are at their disposal.
§ I must stress that this Amendment by no means implies automatic sentence of corporal punishment for a second offender—far from it. It merely says to to courts: "If you have a person who has proved himself repeatedly to commit acts of violence, then you may consider this form of punshment, together wth the other sentences at your disposal." I believe that, were this Amendment accepted, the use of corporal punishment would in fact prove to be limited, and that.the mere existence of the punishment would render its use rare. But I believe that in certain cases its use would be a more suitable and more just punishment than the other available alternatives, and that its availability would act as a deterrent to potential criminals.
Would it be a more suitable and a more just punishment? Clearly, there are many noble Lords who consider that it is morally wrong for the State, and sometimes even the individual, to use this form of punishment. I entirely accept that point of view, and I respect it, though I may not agree with it. I would not, and cannot, expect noble Lords who hold that view to agree either with my arguments or with my Amendment. But if one does not feel morally
restricted, then one is completely justified in considering the use of corporal punishment. In this connection, I would refer your Lordships to the wise words of the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, when he said on Second Reading [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 230 (No. 72) col. 1104]:
… the fundamental principle in regard to the young offender must be that the penal treatment should be primarily remedial. But I venture to think that it should not be exclusively remedial.
I would associate myself wholeheartedly, if I may say so, with that view.
§ There are people who are prepared to disregard the law, disregard remedial treatment, and disregard their fellow men. This is sometimes done deliberately, calculatingly, sometimes with the object of self-gratification, and sometimes with the object of raising their distorted esteem in the eyes of their friends. But in the course of so doing they may have slashed, maimed, disfigured or abused other respectable and law-abiding citizens. Where this is the case, and where the offender has shown himself to disregard the earlier, more lenient, treatment of the courts, then I believe that there is a strong argument and a strong demand for more severe punishment. I am not concerned, and nor will any court be concerned, with inflicting corporal punishment on those who have warped and unstable minds and who are therefore unable to be fully in control of their actions. I am concerned with the young and the healthy who can control their actions, but will not.
§ Then is corporal punishment a deterrent? That is an age-old question. It is often said: "Prove that it is a deterrent, and I will support you". But I am not going to prove that it is a deterrent, because there is no proof. You can never prove that it is a deterrent, for you can only prove when, as a deterrent, it has failed, and never when, as a deterrent, it has succeeded. But the fact that the deterrent value cannot be proved does not mean that it does not exist. Arguments, and strong ones, can be supplied by quoting experts and Reports. They are important, but they are no proof. Arguments, and strong ones, can be supplied by quoting figures and statistics. They also are important, but they also are no proof. In the last analysis, each individual has to make up 550 his own mind and come to his own conclusions. I, for my part, am convinced that corporal punishment is a deterrent. If figures are to be quoted, I am impressed by the fact that in 1938 there were 2,721 crimes of violence; in 1949, after abolition, the figure rose to 5,235, and in 1959, it rose to 13,876. I am impressed by the fact that between 1938 and 1959 crimes of violence have been multiplied by five times, crimes of violence by people under 17 by over ten times, and crimes of violence by young males between 17 and 21 by over fourteen times. These, I think, are terrifying figures and ones that demand action.
§ I venture to think that the courts and the Government have a clear duty to the country to halt this wave of crime and to protect the lives of the public, These figures indicate that the weapons at the disposal of the courts are inadequate to perform this task. If we want this task performed properly, then I venture to suggest that we must give the courts stronger and more appropriate weapons. It is said that 77 per cent. of the people in the country want a return to corporal punishment in some form or shape. The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, came out recently, during the Second Reading debate, in favour of it. The previous Lord Chief Justice has frequently made his views known, and the Magistrates' Association have a four to one majority in favour of a return. Those are facts which are deserving of weighty consideration.
May I turn for a few moments to the more.humane side of the problem. It is sometimes said that it is undignified for the State and not in the interests of the offender for corporal punishment to be administered. But I would ask your Lordships to consider that. and may I, in so doing, remind you of the words of the Amendment
… A court shall have the power to pass a sentence of corporal punishment as an alternative to a sentence of detention in remand homes, detention centres, borstal institutions or prison.
How easy is it for a man who has been in a remand home, detention centre, borstal institution or prison to get a job? Every noble Lord knows that where there are two applicants for the job and one of them has been in prison or borstal, the odds are automatically weighted heavily against his being given the job.
Which in later life will a man look back on and consider has disrupted his life more, a sentence of corporal punishment or two or three years in prison or borstal as a young man? Which is more likely to bring the young offender into contact with the professional criminal, a sentence of corporal punishment or a sentence of prison or borstal?
§ I am not arguing that corporal punishment is always better than more orthodox sentences. What I am arguing is that there can be circumstances where a sentence of corporal punishment is more just and is more humane than another form of sentence, and that the courts should have the power to pass what in their opinion is the most appropriate sentence. To illustrate this, I should like to remind your Lordships of the instance which the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, gave on Second Reading, where four or five young men had been sentenced to five years imprisonment and they appealed. The plea put forward was: is there not another method, however severe, that can be substituted which will allow these men to finish their education? One was to be a scientist, one was to be an engineer. I believe that there is another punishment which could, and in some cases should, be available; and my Amendment seeks to provide it.
§ The prime duty of Government, be it war or be it peace, is surely to protect the lives of its citizens. The fact that the figures of crimes of violence have risen so markedly, as I have shown, is a sign that they are not succeeding in this task and that sterner measures are required. Let us remember that there are old people, women and parents who are genuinely disturbed and frightened for their safety, and for the safety of their children. I believe that this Amendment will help to strengthen the law and thus in some small measure help to regenerate the confidence and respect for the law which has recently so gravely deteriorated. I beg to move.
After Clause 10, insert the said new clause.— (Earl Ferrers.)
§ 6.36 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
If this Amendment, which I regard as an unfortunate and deplorable Amendment, had to be 552 moved at all, I am very glad that it was moved by the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers. For one reason, he and I agree on so many subjects, and therefore I can always respect his opinion, even though it differs from mine. Secondly, even if I disagreed with almost everything he said, he put his case with great sincerity and, for one holding the views that he does hold, with, I thought, considerable restraint and no little effect. For that, I think we should all be extremely grateful, because I entirely agree with him that the views that he has expressed are sincerely held—but wrongly held, in my view—by many people, just as the views that I shall express are equally sincerely held, and I believe with more reason than those of the noble Earl.
There is one point with which I should like to deal immediately, which was mentioned by the noble Earl, and that is the use of the figure of 13,875 (I think he said 13,876) for crimes of violence (that is, crimes of violence against the person) in 1959. The noble Earl used that as an argument in favour of the kind of limited corporal punishment which he is now advocating should be applied. I wonder if noble Lords are aware of the offences which are covered by that total of 13,875 crimes of violence against the person. There are, for example, 390 for causing death by dangerous driving. Does the noble Earl think that could be met by flogging? There are included 154 offences for procuring abortion? Could that be dealt with effectively by use of the cane? There are offences of concealment of birth, manslaughter, attempts to murder, murder itself. Does the noble Earl or anyone else think that the threat of strokes with the cane would be a deterrent to anyone in respect of murder or manslaughter?
The noble Earl, I think very wisely, decided not to attempt to prove or give any evidence in support of his view that this kind of limited flogging was in fact a deterrent. And of course there is no possible proof of that whatsoever. And since there is no such proof, and, indeed, no foundation for such a belief, and no evidence in support of that, the case goes almost entirely. But I would make a few observations, first of all on this question of crimes of violence and the use which is made of the figures. It is—I would not say, a dishonest use, but it is not sufficiently scrupulous. There are 15 553 different crimes included in this list, and if you are genuinely concerned about the deterrent they should be examined, and you should answer the question, "Which of those offences do I believe is likely to be lessened, deterred, by the threat of strokes of the cane or corporal punishment as specified in the Amendment?" That is the first question that noble Lords have themselves to answer before they vote in support of this Amendment.
The second question that they have to answer is this: what were the offences for which, for example, flogging was given? The list of crimes of violence against the person, fifteen offences, do not include a single crime of violence which was previously floggable, so that the noble Lord's use of that figure vanishes completely. Robbery with violence, virtually the only offence for which flogging was used up to 1948, was the one actual violent offence which, for several years after the abolition of corporal punishment in 1948, decreased. That is evidence against the Amendment. Crimes of robbery with violence decreased until they reached only 40 per cent. of the 1948 figure. It is true that the figure has since risen, but to nothing like the extent of other crimes of violence.
We could go right through the penal calendar and consider all the offences which would Abe dealt with to-day by the cuff behind the ear, by the policeman's heavy glove which my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth mentioned and which were punishable by hanging. Of course, these same arguments were heard in your Lordships' House a hundred or more years ago, when reformers suggested that those punishments were too severe and that they should be abolished. The same arguments were advanced then as to what would happen if those punishments were abolished. The House was warned that there would be an increase in the number of murders, an increase in stealing, whether it was sheep stealing or the theft of a loaf of bread, and so on. But in fact none of those crimes increased because these severe penalties were removed.
I said in your Lordships' House the other day that it is not so long ago that my grandmother, as a child, saw another child publicly hanged for stealing a loaf 554 of bread. I suppose it is difficult for us to transport ourselves in time back a hundred years or more, and try to feel what other people felt. My view is that those people were much the same as we are; that they looked at this problem seriously in the light of their then knowledge and then dealt with it as honestly as they could, and they expressed their views perhaps with passion on these points back and forth. However the noble Earl qualifies, as he did, his Amendment—he went through and dealt with his Amendment and showed the limitations and the restrictions—however restricted it is, nothing can conceal the fact that if this Amendment is accepted, it is going to put us back 110 years. The noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack made that clear only the other day; it is a retrogressive step.
Earlier this afternoon when my noble friend Lady Summerskill was speaking to another Amendment, she said that physicians thought it was quite possible that, a hundred years hence, perhaps through the discovery of a wonderful thing called a ductless gland, we might cure criminals without prison or anything else. That is looking in the future, perhaps as far ahead as a hundred years. But do we instead want to look back for more than a hundred years and go back there for the cure, when in our heart of hearts we know that it is no cure? Anyone who has taken the trouble to, spend time with delinquents or prisoners of any age, and however hardened, will know that in the great majority of cases the reason is something to do with their state of mind. It may be their training.
I do not disagree with the noble Earl that many physically healthy specimens do offend, knowing what they are doing. But when one has studied family backgrounds, their history, their present position and condition, one must come to the conclusion that corporal punishment would be utterly useless to cure what ails them. What is necessary is to look into the reasons for what ails them, and then to apply a wise cure accordingly. The noble Earl and those who support him want, as it were, to cure this mental illness (if I may use that term in its broadest sense) by means of remote control. They want to improve people's minds by banging their bottoms
May I just interrupt the noble Lord for one moment? I tried to make it perfectly clear that we were not trying to do that. I was trying to make it clear that that was not the object of this Amendment. Where people's minds were affected, I specifically said that this Amendment would have absolutely no bearing whatever; it was intended to be imposed only in regard to people whose minds were perfectly normal and who were perfectly fit, but who just had a complete disregard for the law.
§ LORD STONHAM
I heard the noble Earl perfectly well. I was not trying to misrepresent him, and if he reads tomorrow what I said he will find that I was not doing so. What I say is that there are perfectly healthy young people who do wrong for reasons which, in effect, have affected their minds. I do not mean that they are in the slightest degree insane or anything of that kind, or even mentally deficient, but that they are maladjusted; they have got a bad home, their mothers and fathers are not living together, they have not got a father, and all sorts of reasons which do affect them mentally. I say that you will not cure that kind of thing, which in the overwhelming number of cases is the main cause of juvenile delinquency, by any kind of beating.
It is quite extraordinary, the number of noble Lords who will say to you, either in public or private, "When I was a boy this was the kind of thing that used to happen to me", and they describe the beatings they have had with a sort of nostalgic relish. Some of them are great soldiers who wear medals, soldiers of the First World War, even Old Contemptibles. When I hear from them of the scars and the medals that they cannot show, I also think that they are young contemptibles in the glory that they have in the inflictions of their youth. Then they will say, "I was beaten. I used to get six of the best very frequently; and look what it has done for me!" Of course, I look at them as kindly as I possibly can and think, "That is my whole case. Look what it has done for them, and look what might have happened if they had been treated in another way!"
I sometimes think of this particular cure. It reminds me of the doctors in the Great Plague of London. They used to mask and cover themselves, and hold a pole with which they tested their 556 patient. That was a very wise precaution on their part because it meant they did not catch the plague. It was not so good for the patients because they almost inevitably died. Much the same happens with the African witch doctor—they either kill or cure by remote control. The only advantage they have is that the patient believes that the African witch doctor can either kill him or cure him. But when it is a case of beating, in my view the young patient does not believe that it is going to cure him.
This Amendment advocates, if it advocates anything at all, the deterrent of fear. It believes that if you take this young, rough person who has offended before and beat him severely, then there will be less likelihood that he will offend again. That is the whole Amendment and the whole case. Everything that we know, all our experience, points to the fact that this view is wrong that it will not deter; that it will not lessen the offences. Equally, everything in our experience points to the fact that if we can understand the reasons why that child has committed his crimes, and try to remove the cause, we shall lessen the crime wave. I believe that the Amendments which have been advocated today and yesterday from these Benches, and the means we have sought to make in this Bill, including the training centres mentioned in the last Amendment, are the things that are going to teach; they are the things that are going to reduce crime, or the things that are going to make citizens of our errant young people. I hope that noble Lords and Ladies in all parts of the House will regard this as a matter of personal judgment and personal conscience and come in with my noble friends and myself against this Amendment.
§ 6.52 p.m.
§ LORD DENNING
On the Second Reading I spoke against any introduction of corporal punishment. Now, when I see this Amendment, which is an endeavour to bring in a modified form of corporal punishment, may I suggest how hopeless is the attempt? We see the wordsOn a second or subsequent conviction for a crime of violence".It is not limited to violence against the person; it is "a crime of violence". We 557 have a number of young people who have committed their first offence of breaking into a pavilion and getting a few cigarettes; and maybe their second crime of violence would be of the same kind. This Amendment would enable corporal punishment to be introduced for a second offence of that kind. Not only that: it is to be introduced as an alternative to treatment such as is given in detention centres, borstal training and the like. The Judge can give one or the other. He can either give the corporal punishment or send the offender to a detention centre or borstal training.
When it was my unfortunate duty, before 1948, to sentence occasionally for robbery with violence, it was never by itself; I do not think any judge ever sentenced to birching or flogging alone. It was always in addition to an existing prison sentence. You might reduce the three years' ordinary penal servitude to one year plus corporal punishment. This Amendment allows corporal punishment, and then the man has no training in a detention centre or borstal training. I am perfectly convinced that it is the wrong treatment. If you are going to do the right thing to the community and to the individual, you should send him to what is now the privilege sentence of borstal training, which is indeterminate and which will carry him up to two years, or, alternatively, send him to a detention centre. As I said before on Second Reading—and perhaps I may say one word about it now—there is all the difference in the world between personal, immediate treatment of the offender by the parent or schoolmaster and the delayed judicial treatment, after an appeal, inflicted in altogether different circumstances.
Because it is more than thirteen years since this punishment was inflicted, may I tell your Lordships how the Committee describe it? The offender is strapped to an apparatus, known as a triangle, which is like a great blackboard easel. If he is to be birched he is bent over a pad placed between the front legs of the triangle, and his hands are secured by straps secured to the back legs of the triangle. In both cases he is screened by canvas sheeting so that he cannot see the officer administering the punishment. The birch is administered across the buttocks on the bare flesh. The Cadogan Committee found 558 that there was no essential difference between flogging and birching as administered to persons over the age of 16, and that the latter was almost, if not quite, as painful as the former.
§ LORD MERRIVALE
May I interrupt? It goes on further down in that paragraph to say that, in practice, it is only on very rare occasions that the prisoner needs any attention from the medical officer and there have been very few cases in Which he has not been able to walk back to his cell without assistance.
§ LORD DENNING
That is perfectly true. I am just describing the nature of the punishment to show that it is impersonal. And birching may be after an appeal, in contrast to the only justifiable form of corporal punishment, which is personal and immediate by a person who knows what he is doing, and with no appeal whatsoever. I hope that this Amendment will be rejected.
My great grandfather was one who advocated the abolition of flogging in the Army. Most officers in his day believed that flogging was absolutely necessary for the maintenance of discipline. Flogging was abolished, and what happened? Was there a great incidence of mutiny and insubordination? No, there were no more offences against discipline than there were before. To my mind that proves conclusively that flogging is not a deterrent. My father used to boast of the number of times he had been birched when at Eton. Apparently in his day you got a certain amount of kudos from being birched. Anyway, that makes it pretty obvious that it was not a deterrent, otherwise he would not have kept going back for it.
I know that the noble Earl who has moved this Amendment is of the opinion that birching is a great deterrent to crimes of violence. But apparently it is not a deterrent to any other form of crime. After all, we are all very keen to abolish crime, so far as we can, whatever the nature of the crime may be. If it could be abolished by birching, or if the noble Earl thought that it could be, I have no doubt that he would put "burglary" into the Amendment as well, But he has not done it; and it indicates, apparently, that violence is the only thing that flogging deters. That is to say, if a man is had up for robbery with 559 violence once he will go on robbing the next,lime without violence. That is what the noble Earl seems to think. I will not go on in this trend. The Amendment, as I think the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, has indicated, seems to be quite absurd. There is no short cut to the cure for this disease. It has to be done with great care, with great deliberation, with many disappointments and many delays. We hope that it will succeed eventually. Those persons who deal with juvenile delinquents are, so far as I know—and I have spoken to a good many—unanimous in opposing corporal punishment.
§ LORD PARKER OF WADDINGTON
I had not intended to speak further on this matter, because I fear my views are all too well known, but listening once again to the old familiar arguments on the one side and the other, I feel that I must make one comment—I hope a fair comment. I myself fully respect the views of those sitting on the Opposition Benches, even if I do not subscribe to them. Not only are they sincere and courageous, but at least they are consistent in their implacable opposition to both capital punishment and corporal punishment. They can see no deterrent in either of those forms of sentence. How different it is when one turns to the Government, who, while supporting capital punishment, will not reintroduce corporal punishment! They view (we saw it only yesterday) with equanimity the death sentence, the death sentence for somebody between 18 and 21; yet they get all squeamish at the idea of beating a boy with a cane or birch. They find in the one a unique deterrent; in the other no deterrent at all. Yet they would, I think, be forced to concede that no statistics assisted to that end, and much less were conclusive of the argument. I do not understand the Government's attitude in this matter, unless it be a laissez faire attitude—an attitude not to invoke controversy, and thus to allow capital punishment to remain in being and corporal punishment to remain in abeyance.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am one who has never been particularly worried by criticism, and certainly those of your Lordships who, willingly or unwillingly, have observed my career in 560 one House or the other would acquit me of any desire to avoid controversy. I have been in the midst of controversy all my life, and I should like to say to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice that, whatever he thinks of the reasons for which I take this view, it is not because of laissez faire or any desire to avoid the argument, which is a serious and powerful argument, as anyone who listened to the speech of my noble friend Lord Ferrers will at once admit. I want to say this: that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary is as much concerned as anyone, or more concerned, about the increase in crime; and he would not hesitate—nor would the Government hesitate—to reintroduce judicial corporal punishment if he thought it would be an effective deterrent, or would give increased protection to potential victims. Neither he nor I believe that it would do so, and we consider that the public interest is best served by subjecting an offender, wherever possible, to positive training, where necessary in custodial background, rather than by using purely punitive measures such as corporal punishment.
My noble friend Lord Ferrers, and, T think, others who have argued this point, have drawn attention to the fact that something like 80 per cent. of public opinion is shown by the polls to be in favour of some form of corporal punishment—and I was very glad, as I should expect from so candid an arguer as my noble friend Lord Ferrers, that he used those very words, "some form of corporal punishment". But the Advisory Council, when they considered this matter, took the wise course of breaking down the different forms of corporal punishment which had been advocated—and, of course, they are totally different. On the question of the offence, one body said that corporal punishment should be generally available for courts to order, irrespective of the offence, whenever they think fit; another for certain specified offences: another for offences of violence only, as in this clause—and I will come again to the point of the offences which are included.
Then, on the question of age, one body of opinion said that it should be available for offenders of all ages; another for offenders under 21, as in this clause; others, again, for those aged 17 to 21 only; others, again, for those aged 14 561 to 17 only; others, again, for all offenders under 17. The position is the same in regard to the question: should it be available for first or for second offences. Some said it should be for a first offence and subsequent offences; others said that it should be available only for those who commit further offences after warning. 'Then, on the question of whether it should be alternative to a sentence or cumulative to a sentence, some said that it should be imposed as an alternative to a sentence of imprisonment, borstal or detention, as does this Amendment; others in addition. Similarly, there was a disagreement as to whether it should be given with short sentences (which gather is the view of my noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice) or with long sentences. Some said that it should be given to females, and others said it should not.
I am quoting these opinions (I am summarising the results of 3,500 letters received by the Advisory Council in reply to letters sent out asking for information) to show that, although it is easy to come to your Lordships' House and say, "80 per cent. of people are in favour", these 80 per cent. are not at all in favour of the same thing. They are in favour of—what? Of about 50 variations. And they have not really focused their minds on the difficulties.It is only when you make your selection between these 50 choices that you come up against the difficulties with which we have to deal.
Now let us consider what has happened. We thought, as a Government, that we ought to be guided by the most expert and authoritative advice available to us. As has been mentioned, this matter was considered some 23 years ago by a Committee under Sir Edward Cadogan, whom many of us remember in another place. The Cadogan Committee examined the position, and searched to find whether corporal punishment had some special element of deterrence not provided by imprisonment or penal servitude. After considering a great deal of evidence and examining the records of 440 men convicted between 1921 and 1930 of robbery with violence (which was in effect the only crime for which flogging was then given) they said this—and I quote:We have been unable to find any body of facts or figures showing that the introduction 562 of a power of flogging has produced a decrease in the number of the offences for which it may be imposed, or that offences for which flogging may be ordered have tended to increase when little use was made of the power to order flogging or to decrease when the power was exercised more frequently. We are not satisfied that corporal punishment has that exceptionally effective influence as a deterrent which is usually claimed for it by those who advocate its use as a penalty for adult offenders.The Committee reached similar conclusions about the birching of juveniles. If my memory is right (I meant to check it last night, but, again, I did not), I think the Cadogan Committee said that the use in respect of juveniles was very rare at the time that they reported. I should like to say that that is my memory; if I am wrong, I am sure someone will correct me.
My noble friend Lord Ailwyn made the point with regard to the Cadogan Committee—and it is a very fair point —that they were reporting on circumstances 23 years ago; that times have changed since the Cadogan Committee recommended that the penalty should be abolished, and that the pattern of crime and types of offenders is now quite different. My right honourable friend therefore decided, at the beginning of last year, to ask his Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders to consider whether there were any grounds for reintroducing any form of corporal punishment as a judicial penalty in respect of any categories of offences and offenders, and their Report was published last November. I have said that they took immense pains to consult all classes of people, including newspaper editors and those who could inform them as to public opinion, apart from the people who obviously would be consulted; and, as I said, they had received 3,500 letters.
As I have already quoted, the Council reported that, although there were opinions in favour, there were these immense differences and divergencies of view as to what should actually be done. But I think it is important (and I venture to draw your Lordships' attention to this) that the Report shows that while, at the outset of the inquiry, some members of the Council shared the views of the majority of people who wrote to them having studied the evidence they were convinced that corporal punishment should not be reintroduced. I venture to quote paragraph 83, because I think 563 everyone who applies his mind to this subject should consider it:In view of the great conflict of opinion on this subject, it would have been surprising if at the outset of our inquiry, some of us had not thought that the reintroduction of judicial corporal punishment might be justified as a means of checking the growing increase in crime generally and in offences of hooliganism in particular. That was, in fact, the case, but, having studied the views expressed to us and the available evidence, we consider that the findings of the Cadogan Committee are still valid and have come unanimously to the conclusion that corporal punishment should not be reintroduced as a judicial penalty in respect of any categories of offences and of offenders.That was the unanimous opinion of all the members of the Council who were able to take a full part in the consideration of the matter.
My noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice very rightly poses the point: why do the Government take one view on capital punishment and another on corporal punishment? The answer is that, with regard to capital punishment. nobody, so far as I know, has ever issued as clear, as objective, as unbiased an estimate and Report on the matter as we have now had on two occasions on this subject. We have our own views; I expressed them to your Lordships yesterday and I hope that they may be in your Lordships' minds. But on the other question, if you ask for something to be examined by people selected as being expert in the matter, and find one view expressed 23 years ago confirmed in November last year—and confirmed, I venture to put to your Lordships for very good reasons—I would ask: why should the Government not accept that view?
I come to the reasons: I quoted them on Second Reading, and I put them very shortly to-day. These are the general reasons. It is now common ground, and we have had it again to-day, that this is resuming a state of things—I will not use the ordinary words—that we decided to give up 100 years ago. It is not only that. It is going to a state of things which other countries in Europe gave up before we did, and which they see no reason to resume at the present time. I venture to ask your Lordships to consider; is it to go out from the House of Lords that the young people of England require a punishment which no one on the Continent believes should be given to the young people of these other countries? 564 I ask your Lordships to consider that thought carefully. It would be a rather astounding thing to come from your Lordships' House. I have dealt with the general point, that the Council came to the conclusion that there was no assurance that judicial corporal punishment would reduce crime or afford real protection. They did not think, having again pursued the same course as the Cadogan Committee, of examining the records of hundreds of offenders, that it was an especially effective deterrent.
Clearly, of course, it is out of line with, and would militate against, the approach to dealing with crime from which we stand to-day. I said in answer to my noble friend Lord Fortescue on the Second Reading that I have considered the matter over and over again. I have gone through the periods when people in this country thought that mutilation was a suitable method. Then the logical nineteenth century believed that if only the deterrent was strong enough, and the work of the deterrent was useless enough, that would do it. It did not solve the problem; and only 65 years ago we thought there would have to be a reformative element.
That is the position. But my noble friend Lord Ferrers has made the point, with great restraint, that the present system is not working. But I would say —and I ask your Lordships to consider, each of you, whether this is a fair point—that this new system, of not having imprisonment, of an improved borstal system, of detention centres, attendance centres and of the development of probation, is only on the threshold of getting its chance. For the first ten years after the war there were only two Home Secretaries, Mr. Chuter Ede and myself; and at that time neither of us—and we never made any Party point about it at all—with the other pressures which were on the economy and the country at that time, could insist on a prison-building programme. So the present building programme is only now beginning to get its chance. I do not think it would be right to say that all the improvements that we are making in our present system are useless until we see whether the present building programme does improve.
We come again to the practical difficulties. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice admitted there was 565 some difficulty about the question of delay. Most of us are a lot more worried than my noble and learned friend. There is also the question, which is dealt with in the Report, of the inflicting of the penalty, which is something that is going to provide a great deal of difficulty, and I suspect was one of the reasons why it was largely not used for juvenile offenders before the war.
These are the facts. There are the grounds on which we are proceeding. My noble and learned friend has said to me: "Well, why take this line on flogging and a different one on hanging?" Rightly or wrongly, as I have told your Lordships again and again, I attach importance to the unique character of the penalty of death for one offence. I have never supported the extensive use of the penalty for other offences, and the whole of penal history, I think, shows why that distinction can be drawn, even if some of your Lordships disagree with it.
I am sorry to have taken so long, but this is a vital Amendment and I have mentioned the general points which influenced me. Of course, there are a number of vital objections to this Amendment, some of which have already been mentioned. This clause seeks to make corporal punishment available for crimes of violence. It does not define what the crimes are. The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and my noble and learned friend Lord Denning, have mentioned the difficulties there. In fact, of course, the particular offences for which it is suggested flogging should be imposed would have to be considered individually before we could face the world with having begun to consider the moral problem involved.
Secondly, this Amendment would give the power to award corporal punishment to magistrates' courts as well as to higher courts. That would lead to the variations which are shown in paragraphs 58 to 60 of the Advisory Council's Report. This Amendment suggests corporal punishment as an alternative to other sentences. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chief Justice, when he gave us the benefit of his advice, said that it should be the concomitant of a shorter sentence. My noble friend Land Ferrers seeks to meet one point by saying that it will be for a second offence, because that gives the opportunity of warning. It does not deal with the difficulty, magnified by this 566 Amendment, which gives the right to award corporal punishment to magistrates' courts, that the second time, even in the unlikely event of the court's having known of the warning in the first place, the court may take an entirely different view. Out of courts composed of 16000 magistrates you will find divergencies, so that this system of endeavouring to induce certainty by warning will certainly not work. Whatever you do, delay will still exist.
My noble friend Lord Ferrers made the point that this was birching and caning, not flogging with the "cat-o' nine-tails". This distinction has often been sought to be made. But the Cadogan Committee came to the conclusion that there was no essential difference between flogging and birching as administered to persons over the age of 16, and that the latter was almost, if not quite, as painful as the former; and the Advisory Committee were given no evidence that led them to dissent from that conclusion. Whether you consider this from the general point of view, or whether you consider the particular objections, which I believe are unanswerable, to this specific Amendment, it would, in my respectful advice to your Lordships, be wrong to put this Amendment into the Bill, and I ask your Lordships to reject it.
§ 7.26 p.m.
§ LORD FERRIER
The noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, despite the similarity in our names, asked me whether I would support his Amendment, but I would oppose it, despite the similarity. It is not to be imagined that I oppose it because I have any objection to the parental rod or to the administration of correction in schools by teachers or masters, or by properly constituted authority amongst the boys themselves, despite what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said. I am in favour of the administration of physical punishment if only to fit a boy for the buffetings of life which he will have to face, subject, of course, to the consideration that such punishment: is administered swiftly, sharply, and with some element of inevitability. It is on that point that I rise to take up your Lordships' time on this Amendment. As the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack has just made clear, there must be delay in inflicting the 'punishment earned by the crime. But there is no 567 element of inevitability in the Amendment which, to my mind, is essential in providing a deterrent.
As far as the deterrent is concerned, I have no reason to differ from what has been said by the many workers engaged in the study of delinquency, in remand work and in after-care, that corporal punishment, however much it may be a deterrent, is not in this country and in this generation the best method of protecting the public. In one respect I would differ from the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack. I do not see why there should be any comparison in this field with other countries. We are dealing with British boys in Britain. So far as they are concerned, in this country and in this generation corporal punishment is, in my belief, not the best remedy for the protection of the public. I am not concerned with the state of mind of the criminal; I think our first consideration is the protection of the public. But the existence of this power as a deterrent is useless unless it is used. And if it is to be used, even if it were not limited by this lack of inevitability by which I set much store—and I think many of your Lordships will also set store by it—this Amendment does not provide for such inevitability.
If corporal punishment is to be used thus, it is not a sufficient deterrent to this type of criminal to offset the risk of creating in him a determined enemy of society and more of a menace than he would be if treated in a detention centre. In this respect I agree completely with what the noble Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, has said: that we have not yet had the opportunity, by virtue of the limited building programme, to judge the effect of the new-style detention centre. I would repeat that I am not actuated by any sympathy with the thug. I believe that the public is best protected by the Bill as it stands, and I would oppose the Amendment.
§ LORD MERRIVALE
I should like to support the Amendment but I would, in all humility, agree with what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, said, that it seems to be a pity that it should be an alternative for the courts. They can either inflict a sentence of corporal punishment or send an offender to a remand home or to prison. It would 568 have been better if the Amendment had been worded so that the sentence could be corporal punishment and also a shorter period of detention.
As the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor referred to the Report of the Advisory Committee, perhaps I may be permitted to make a few comments on it. It is interesting to note that they saidA striking issue that emerges from a study of the views expressed to us is that different people reach different conclusions on the basis of the same facts or experiences.That is why I feel it is possible that your Lordships may reach a different conclusion, or the same conclusion, as the Advisory Committee, though I must say I would agree with their statement that purely statistical evidence on this issue is of limited value. The fact is that over recent years there has been a steady increase in crime. The noble Lord, Lord Ferrers, gave some figures, some of which were refuted by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, but in effect there has been an increase in crime.
I think it can also be said that a large number of people in this country would like to see the reintroduction of judicial corporal punishment. The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor referred to the 3,500 letters received by the Advisory Committee, of which 77 per cent. were in favour, 17 per cent. against, and 6 per cent. undecided. Although there may be variations, those who are in favour of reintroduction, whatever way they view the situation, would favour reintroduction one way or another. It is equally true to say that the majority of Judges of the Queen's Bench Division are of the opinion that corporal punishment might be desirable in certain circumstances. The Report also says that a postal ballot taken in 1953 of members of the Magistrates' Association showed that 4,412 voted in favour and 1,886 against.
On the Second Reading of this Bill in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary said that the Advisory Council had expressed the view that a severe and exemplary punishment is often salutary. In my humble opinion, in certain circumstances, a flogging by means of a birch or cane could be a severe and exemplary punishment. I should have thought that in many cases it would have been preferable to a long drawn out 569 prison sentence. Like my noble friend Lord Ferrers, I believe in remedial treatment, but not exclusively in it, and that is why I should have liked to see Her Majesty's Government agree with the principle that the courts should have discretionary power to order judicial corporal punishment.
I should have thought that a short and sharp sentence, possibly coupled with a shorter period of detention, would enable such remedial action as was necessary to be taken within a short period of time. On this question of time, I would say that if, after having been convicted for a first offence, an offender was warned that if he committed a similar offence he ran the risk of receiving corporal punishment, even if there was a delay after he had committed the second offence, he would know that the punishment referred to that offence—in other words, he could relate it properly. I should have thought that the fact that there may be a period of time, short or long, between the moment he was sentenced and the time of flogging was immaterial.
In the present age of the H-bomb, I really cannot see why we should be wary about the reintroduction of judicial corporal punishment. The H-bomb is a far worse form of deterrent, and we rely on it. Why we cannot agree to rely on judicial corporal punishment, I really cannot see. Nor can I see that it would, in the words of the Advisory Committee, be "affronting the conscience of a civilised community". In this respect, it is interesting to note what was written in the Economist on March 26 last year with regard to public feeling on this matter. In March of last year the National Union of Conservative Associations passed a resolution asking for punishment by cane or birch, and the Economist then quoted the News Chronicle Gallup poll, which said that 78 per cent. of the people of Britain wanted the return of judicial corporal punishment. This leads me to the comment, in paragraph 40 in the Report, that in other countries which had previously had corporal punishment but had abolished it, there had been no public demand for its reintroduction. But in this country there is a public demand for it, and I regret that Her Majesty's 570 Government are not paying more attention to public feeling on this matter.
In conclusion, I should like to say that I have every faith in the opinion of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Parker of Waddington, who said that it would act as a deterrent in over 10 per cent. of cases. I should have thought that that was an important figure, taken in conjunction with other deterrents for crimes of violence, and that is why I sincerely regret that Her Majesty's Government cannot see their way to accept this Amendment.
§ LORD JESSEL
I suggest that all that can usefully be said has already been said on this Amendment. I think that we should start a little self-discipline, and I hope that I am in order in moving, That the Question now be put.
§ Moved, That the Question be now put. —(Lord Jessel.)
§ LORD TEVIOT
I am afraid I do not agree with the noble Lord who has just sat down. The noble Lord who moved this Amendment did so in a very moderate way, and he certainly has convinced me, except in one matter and that is in the use of the cane. I say that as I have the advice of the medical fraternity on the subject. Only yesterday I saw a friend of mine who is about 55 years of age—
§ LORD SILKIN
On a point of order: if the Motion has been submitted to the Committee, "That the Question be now put", is it not for the Committee to decide Whether the question should, in fact, be put?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I have never before, in my short experience in this House, known the closure to be put in the form of a Motion. I am bound to say that I thought there was a good deal of support in the Committee for what my noble friend Lord Jessel said. I had taken what my noble friend Lord Teviot was saying to be an attempt to debate the Motion that the Question be now put, and for that reason I did not intervene. I hope he will find it possible to yield to what I think is the manifest feeling of the Committee.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ On Question, Whether the said new clause shall be agreed to?571
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 31; Not-Contents, 88.
|Ailwyn, L.||Ferrers, E. [Teller.]||Newall, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Fortescue, E. [Teller.]||Parker of Waddington, L.|
|Baden-Powell, L.||Howard of Glossop, L.||Rathcavan, L.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Howe, E.||Selborne, E.|
|Colgrain, L.||Lambert, V.||Somerleyton, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Limerick, E.||Somers, L.|
|Congleton, L.||Long, V.||Strathclyde, L.|
|Denham, L.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Teviot, L.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Merrivale, L.||Twining, L.|
|Exeter, M.||Milverton, L.||Waleran, L.|
|Aberdare, L.||Faringdon, L.||Mersey, V.|
|Adrian, L.||Ferrier, L.||Merthyr, L.|
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Feversham, E.||Montgomery of Alamein, V.|
|Amulree, L.||Fraser of Lonsdale, L.||Moyne, L.|
|Amwell, L.||Fraser of North Cape, L.||Newton, L. [Teller.]|
|Astor, V.||Geddes, L.||Ogmore, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Gladwyn, L.||Perth, E.|
|Bathurst, E.||Goschen, V.||Pethick-Lawrence, L.|
|Bessborough, E.||Hailsham, V. (L. President.)||Poole, L.|
|Blackford, L.||Harmsworth, L.||Radnor, E.|
|Boothby, L.||Harvey of Tasburgh, L.||Raglan, L.|
|Boyd-Orr, L.||Hastings, L.||Ravensdale of Kedleston, B.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Hawke, L.||St. Aldwyn. E. [Teller.]|
|Brecon, L.||Henderson, L.||St. Oswald, L.|
|Burden, L.||Horsbrugh, B.||Shackleton, L.|
|Carrington, L.||Iddesleigh, E.||Shawcross, L.|
|Cawley, L.||Ingleby, V.||Silkin, L.|
|Chesham, L.||Jellicoe, E.||Sinha, L.|
|Chester, L. Bp.||Jessel, L.||Stonham, L.|
|Chorley, L.||Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Strang, L.|
|Citrine, L.||Kinnaird, L.||Swanborough, B.|
|Craigmyle, L.||Lawson, L.||Swinton, E.|
|Croft, L.||Listowel, E.||Terrington, L.|
|Davidson, V.||Lucan, E.||Teynham, L.|
|Denning, L.||Luke, L.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Devonshire, D.||McCorquodale of Newton, L.||Walston, L.|
|Dundee, E.||McNair, L.||Williams, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Margesson, V.||Williams of Barnburgh, L.|
|Exeter, L. Bp.||Melchett, L.||Wolverton,-L.|
|Wootton of Abinger, B.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ Moved, That the Committee do adjourn during pleasure.—(Viscount Hailsham.)
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
In view of the work that we have to do this week, I think we ought to go straight on.
EARL ST. ALDWYN
The problem is quite simple. As your Lordships know, we have always done our best to consider the Hansard Reporters, who have done their best for this House. They are short staffed, and tonight they cannot 572 draw on any of their colleagues from the Commons because of the Finance Bill. Therefore, in consideration for them, I must ask your Lordships to adjourn for three-quarters of an hour.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
That may be a very good reason on behalf of our present Hansard Reporters, but in all my long 30 years' experience of Parliamentary life, when you are busy you get in extra writers, if necessary from Fleet Street, who will come in and do the work. We ought not to be harried and badgered on Thursday night, late, in order to have an adjournment to-night. It is my view that we ought to go straight on.
EARL ST. ALDWYN
With all due respect, this is something we have done 573 in this House many times before, and the noble Viscount has never seen fit to object to it.
EARL ST. AL,DWYN
As the House is rising a day earlier than another place, it seems to me not unreasonable that we should, if necessary, sit late on Thursday night.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think we shall all agree that these things are much better discussed through the usual channels, and if the noble Viscount Who leads the Opposition would care to make representations to me at any time, I should be very glad to receive them.
§ On Question. Motion agreed to, and Committee adjourned during pleasure accordingly.
§ [The Sitting was suspended from 8 o'clock until 8.45 p.m.]
§ Clause 11 agreed to.
§ Clause 12 [Return to borstal institution on re-conviction]:
The point of this Amendment is that, as things are now, when a lad who has absconded from borstal and committed offences is brought before the court he can be given a second borstal sentence. As I understand it, by this clause the court is to be deprived of that power. I believe there are two objections to that. In the first place if a lad who has committed serious offences and comes before the court is merely returned to borstal the general opinion of the public is that nothing has happened to him at all. That creates a very bad impression. The second point is that if he is near the end of his borstal sentence he obviously cannot be sent to borstal and has to be sent to prison. I think it is a pity to deprive the courts of this power, especially now that the borstal sentence is being reduced from three years to two. I beg to move.
Page 9, line 3, after ("manner") insert ("impose a second sentence of borstal training or"). —(Lord Raglan.)
§ 8.47 p.m.
I want to assure the noble Lord that in no way does the Bill take away the discretion of the courts to give a second sentence of Borstal should they so wish and should they be so entitled. My noble and learned friend discussed this problem, so far as the magistrates' court is concerned, at considerable length in our debate on Amendments to Clause 1. I must make it clear to my noble friend that this clause deals with a person who has committed an offence while is an absconder from borstal or while he is under supervision after release from borstal. It is a definite principle that the magistrates' court—
I was not referring to the magistrates' court: I was talking about courts of quarter session and assize.
With great respect to my noble friend, if his Amendment were to be passed one of its effects, which we do not like, would be that it would convey to the magistrates' court the power to impose a fresh sentence of borstal. I assure him that the discretion of the senior courts is in no way affected. It is entirely a return to borstal for the commission of a crime committed while the offender is under supervision or has absconded from borstal. It is simply to make it possible for the court to return the offender. I ask my noble friend to withdraw his Amendment because in fact the purpose of Clause 12 is simply to allow the magistrates' court and the senior court, should they think it necessary, to have this power to return him, which indeed the Prison Commissioners have already. In fact courts do now commit an offender back to borstal by the process of committing him to prison. This is not a desirable practice, and it is for this reason that the courts are being given the power to recommit direct.
If it is clear that the powers of the court of Quarter sessions and Assize to impose a second sentence of borstal are not affected, of course I withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 12 agreed to.
§ Clauses 13 and 14 agreed to.575
§ Clause 15:
§ Temporary Removal from Approved School
§ 15.—(1) If on information on oath laid by or on behalf of the managers of an approved school it appears to a justice of the peace on whom jurisdiction is hereinafter conferred that it is necessary for maintaining the discipline or proper functioning of the school that any person not less than fifteen years of age who is detained in the school should forthwith be removed therefrom pending inquiry as to the best means of dealing with him, the justice may issue a warrant directing him to be removed by a constable from the school to another approved school or to a remand centre or remand home, and there detained for a period of twenty-eight days unless sooner dealt with according to law.
§ (5) Where a person is detained in an institution or police station by virtue of a warrant under this section, then, without prejudice to any other power exercisable in relation to that person by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may direct that, before the expiration of the period for which that person is authorised to be so detained, he shall be returned to the school from which he was removed, or first removed.
§ 8.50 p.m.
THE EARL OF LONGFORD had given Notice of his intention to move, in subsection (1), to leave out
it is necessary for maintaining the discipline or proper functioning of the school that".
§ The noble Earl said: I must crave the indulgence of the Committee in regard to Amendments Nos. 22, 23, and 24. Since these were put down I have received various representations which seem to come from a large body of approved school masters—indeed, they may be official representations, but I have not had time to study these with sufficient care and they bear on these Amendments. I wonder whether the Government would allow me to put down Amendments relating to these subjects, if necessary, on the next stage, and for the moment to withdraw these?
I think it might be a surprise—I hope a pleasant surprise—to the noble Earl to learn that I can accept his Amendments Nos. 22 and 24, that being a consequential Amendment, both in words and in principle. Should there be any necessity for adjustments to them or any other clause it can be looked into before the next stage.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
This is a most extraordinary thing. I do not think in this House I have ever managed 576 to secure the passage of any Amendment at any stage, nor have I tried to withdraw any. When success occurs in both respects at the same time it is somewhat astounding. I am most grateful to the noble Earl, but I am not quite sure whether I want these Amendments or not—that is my difficulty at the moment. I am informed by those I follow implicitly that I still want these Amendments. Therefore I am grateful to the noble Earl. Perhaps I have his permission to return to them, if necessary, at the next stage.
Page 10, line 14, leave out the said words.—(The Earl of Longford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ LORD STONHAM
My noble friend Lord Chorley, who is unable to be here at the present time, had a word with me about the next Amendment, No. 23, before he left, and he agreed to allow me to ask on his behalf that the matter should be deferred and brought up again on the Report stage. At this stage, therefore, I do not propose to move the Amendment.
Page 10, line 17, after ("school") insert ("is so seriously unruly or subversive that it is necessary for maintaining the discipline of the school that he").—(The Earl of Longford.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD RAGLAN moved, in subsection (1) after the second "removed" to insert:
by any person named in that warrant or".
The noble Lord said: If the authorities at an approved school come to a magistrate and say, "We have here a boy we cannot deal with. We want him removed", then the magistrate is bound to order a policeman to remove him, even though the approved school authorities are themselves perfectly capable of dealing with the matter. It seems to me that every effort should be made to keep the police out of an approved school unless it is absolutely necessary to do otherwise. I beg to move this Amendment, which I hope that the Government will see their way to accepting.
Page 10, line 19, after ("removed") insert the said words.—(Lord Raglan.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think it will help if I explain the basis of the clause, and then perhaps my noble friend can consider it again before the Report stage, or. I shall be happy to discuss it with him. His Amendment would enable a person for whose removal from an approved school a warrant has been issued under Clause 15 (1) to be removed by a person named in the warrant instead of by a constable. I have in mind what my noble friend said on Second Reading—namely, [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 230 (No. 72), col. 1099]:The staff of every approved school contains a number of able-bodied men, and that they, individually or collectively, should be considered incapable of dealing with any single boy seems to me calculated to destroy the respect the boys have for the staff. That is not all… The success of the treatment at an approved school depends on its having, as a substitute for the father, some member of the staff who can manage the school in a proper way so that it shall be, so far as is possible, like a happy home.What my noble friend said is no doubt true of the ordinary course of life in a boys' approved school: but the clause is designed to deal with the rare emergency in which the discipline of a school is in danger of breaking down. In the sort of situation with which the clause is intended to deal the staff of the school are likely to have their hands full and will need the help of the police as being —may I quote the words of Mr. Victor Durand in his Report?—the nearest available anent of effective public control.It is interesting to note that when the police did intervene at the Carlton School and took four boys into custody this had—again I quote:a sobering effect immediately on the rest of the boys and the disturbance subsided.The provisions of the clause have the support of both Mr. Durand and Lord Ingleby's Committee, and the Government commend them as a reserve power that will greatly strengthen the hands of managers and staffs of approved schools. It is as a reserve power in the circumstances as I describe them that they are put forward, and I should be grateful to my noble friend Lord Raglan if he would consider that aspect of the matter. As I say, if he still has any doubt I shall be happy to discuss it; or, if he puts down an Amendment on the Report stage, to consider it again. In the meantime, I would ask him to 578 withdraw it without any commitment to himself, but simply to consider the point I venture to make.
My Amendment does not compel anybody to do anything. They can call in the police if they think it is necessary, but if they do not they need not. I cannot see any harm can be done by the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
This Amendment raises the same point made earlier to-day, about the remand home. The remand home in my county, as I have already said, is a villa alongside a main road. There are complaints now by local inhabitants because the lads sent there frequently abscond and sometimes do damage to the local inhabitants. The man who is head of the remand home is very well known to me; he is very competent and does his best. But these boys abscond when they are on remand; and if these very tough boys from approved schools are sent there they will give a great deal of trouble. In my view, a remand home is a very unfit place to send them.
Page 10, line 21, leave out ("or remand home").—(Lord Raglan.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I do not think the point is quite as clear as would appear from what my noble friend has said. Subsection (1) of Clause 15 provides that a person removed from an approved school under the clause may be detained for up to 28 days in another approved school or in a remand centre or in a remand home. The Amendment would delete the reference to a remand home. The National Association of Remand Home Superintendents and Matrons made representations to the Home Office against the use of remand homes as places of temporary detention under the clause. They objected on two grounds: first, that remand home buildings are not adequate to contain, or remand home staff experienced enough to control, a youth who has proved 'too difficult for an approved school; and, secondly, that 579 some children in remand homes are only 10, 9 or 8 years old, and could easily be contaminated by a youth of that kind.
It is true that a youth who was removed from an approved school under the, clause would be removed because he was in some way a threat to the discipline of the school, and many such youths may be unsuitable for temporary detention in a remand home. But there may well be others—and I should like my noble friend to consider this—who constitute a threat to discipline only as members of a gang and who, once dispersed among different institutions, could be handled separately in remand homes without any difficulty. My noble friend will note that under subsection (2) of the clause a remand home may be named in the warrant as the institution to which a person is to be removed onlyupon intimation that arrangements have been made for the reception of that person therein",which means that the agreement of the authority responsible for the remand home would have to be obtained in advance. This is a safeguard, and, with this safeguard, there seems to be no reason why remand homes should not be available for use as places of temporary detention under the clause.
Again I should be grateful if my noble friend would consider the point I have made. The essence of it is,only upon intimation that arrangements have been made for the reception of that person therein",which means the agreement of the authority responsible for the remand home being obtained in advance. I think that affects the point which is worrying my noble friend, and again I would ask him to consider it and, if necessary, return to the charge on Report stage.
§ LORD MOYNE
It is very rarely that the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor does not convince me. In this case, however, it seems to me that if the clause remains as it stands, the remand home appears to have a duty put upon it to receive these people. They may find it difficult, and the noble and learned Viscount has explained that they are entitled to refuse. But it does seem to me that when they look at the clause they will feel that it is a duty and that they have got to try to fulfil it, however difficult. I think the clause puts them in 580 a very difficult position, and I should like to support my noble friend Lord Raglan.
There is one point. I am not quite sure who the authority is. The authority for the remand home in my county is a committee composed of people from two counties and two county boroughs, who meet at very infrequent intervals. I do not see how they could possibly be called upon to meet if they were wanted suddenly to give their approval or disapproval on this point.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I will willingly look into this point. I want very much to help those who are dealing with this situation. Perhaps, if my noble friend will allow me, I will look into it and will communicate with him and my noble friend Lord Moyne before the Report stage, so that if they are not satisfied with my communication they can put it down again.
§ LORD STONHAM
I wonder whether the noble and learned Viscount would also let me or my noble friends know of his conclusions on this matter, because we regard it as one of some importance. I think the chief objection of the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, to these words remaining in this clause—"or remand home"—is that you would get persons there who are completely unsuited to the remand home. I think there is certainly something in what the noble and learned Viscount said about the possibility that in some cases a boy removed from a particular environment, a particular gang, might in other surroundings make good and be all right. We all know there are cases of that kind, but in that case it is not a remand home he should go to; it should be another approved school, which is provided for in the clause. The other thing which somewhat disturbs us is the fact that the subsection refers to "a remand centre or remand home". How many remand centres are there in existence?
§ LORD STONHAM
That was my own opinion: that there is none in existence. So when we are thinking about this clause, so far as the present is concerned it means this: that if they have a particularly awkward boy and cannot find a place for him in another approved school, the probability is that 581 he will go to a remand home for 28 days, unless the Amendment which is later going to be moved by my noble friend Baroness Wootton of Abinger is carried, in which case it will be for 21 days. I think it is wholely unsuitable, and I should be grateful if the noble and learned Viscount would take those points into consideration, particularly the fact that there are no remand centres, so there is something down in this subsection which does not exist, whereas we are thinking of this Bill, when it comes on to the Statute Book, in the terms of things as they are. I think there is rather more substance in this particular point than perhaps at the moment he thinks.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "twenty-eight" and insert "twenty-one' [days]. The noble Baroness said: The purpose of this Amendment is to restrict front 28 days to 21 days the period (luring which a young person, who proves unmanageable in an approved school, may be detained in custody in a remand home or a remand centre, if that fictitious object did exist.
§ When a child or a young person appears before the justices, the justices are restricted to a period of 21 days for any remand in custody. It would, I think, be very unfortunate if it got abroad that, when it is not the justices who are responsible for disposing of the young child or the young person but the Home Office, the Home Office required 28 days to make up their minds whereas the justices require only 21. I think it will not be disputed that the Home Office have at their disposal considerably more information than is usually available to the justices. Moreover, in these cases these are children and young persons about whom a very important decision has already been taken: that they shall be committed to an approved school. That decision is not ordinarily taken unless a great deal of information about the child or young person concerned, about his home, his background, his educational capacity and so forth, has been obtained. All this information is already available. When the justices are 582 remanding in custody they remand in order to obtain it. In this case such information is already available without further delay.
§ So long as a young person who has proved a failure in one approved school is not transferred to another or otherwise dealt with, but is detained in a remand home, no steps are taken of a permanent and forward-looking character about his rehabilitation. He is simply marking time until some new project is realised for him. An Amendment on these lines was moved in another place, and a hint was given that reconsideration would be given to the matter. The reconsideration does not appear as yet to have been fruitful, but I hope that we may hear from the Minister that the period of fructification is not yet already finished. I beg to move.
Page 10, line 22, leave out ("twenty-eight") and insert ("twenty-one").—(Baroness Wootton of Abinger.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think there is a real difficulty here, and if the noble Lady will bear with me I should like to develop it, because under Clause 15, subsection (1), the person removed may be detained in another approved school or in a remand centre or remand home, pending inquiry as to the best means of dealing with him. I agree with the noble Lady that often the 21 days will be sufficient, but, as she will know, the clause does not include any provision for an extension of the period, and full inquiries will often be needed before a decision can be taken as to how the person removed should be dealt with. We thought it better to reduce the need for haste in what will be, by definition, an unusually difficult case.
The noble Lady, I am sure, appreciates that once the machinery of the clause has been set in motion the person removed from the approved school may be dealt with in a number of different ways, each of which calls for a decision by the Secretary of State. Before deciding which is the best way of dealing with him, the Secretary of State will need full information about him from the managers of the school from which he has been removed, and probably also a report from the staff of the place to which he has been temporarily removed about his conduct there, and about his 583 physical and mental condition. I do not know what the noble Lady thinks, but I should have thought that it would not be fair to expect a report of this kind to be provided in less than about a fortnight, which means that over two weeks will have passed before the Home Office is in a position to begin to consider how the child should be dealt with.
At that stage the child might then be transferred by the Secretary of State to another approved school; so obviously, as I think the noble Lady will agree, he would not be one of the easiest to fit into the approved school system, and it might take some time to find a place for him. Or the managers might wish to have the consent of the Secretary of State to bring the child before a court under Clause 16, with a view to his removal to borstal. That would mean considering, first, whether any other approved school was likely to be able to cope with the child, and, if not, consulting the Prison Commissioners about his suitability for borstal. If consent were given, arrangements would have to be made by the managers to get the child before a court within the allotted period; and, as the noble Lady will appreciate, in various parts of the country not all magistrates' courts sit every day, or even every week.
A third possibility would be transfer by the Secretary of State to hospital under Section 72 of the Mental Health Act, 1959. The mental disorder would no doubt have been diagnosed during the period of observation, and the necessary medical reports would have been sent in. But it might be some time before a vacancy in a suitable hospital could be found, and it would obviously be undesirable for a mentally disordered child awaiting admission to hospital to be returned to the school from which he had had to be removed.
I say to the noble Lady at once that there is precedent for setting the interval at three weeks. Under Section 14 (3) of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, the court may, after convicting the accused, remand him in custody for three weeks at a time to enable inquiries to be made; and under Section 26 it may remand him for medical examination, again for three weeks at a time. But equally there is precedent for a period of 28 days in, for example, Section 67 (2) of the Children 584 and Young Persons Act, 1933, which deals with interim orders for removal to a place of safety; in Section 69 (2) of that Act, which deals with custody while awaiting removal to an approved school; and in Section 64 of the Mental Health Act, 1959, which enables a person to be detained pending admission to a hospital under a hospital order.
I do not think any of these comparisons is conclusive, because the situation of a person removed under Clause 15 is different. In the first place, he is liable to be detained in any event by order of a court, and the warrant issued under the clause merely changes temporarily the place in which he is held. Secondly, the court employs the 21 days only in obtaining information on which to decide what order to make: either the offender is admitted at once to an institution, or there is special provision, as in Section 69 (2) to which I referred, for him to be held until there is a vacancy. During the 28 days allowed by Clause 15 the Home Office will not only have to collect the necessary information and decide what ought to be done, but will have to ensure that the decision is, in fact, acted upon before the time runs out.
The most important of all, I think, is the third consideration. If the court finds that the first 21 days is not enough, it can remand again. But there is no provision in the Bill for the period prescribed by Clause 15 to be extended and it would not be easy to devise one. If the noble Lady thinks it would be better to put it that way—21 days with an extension—I will have another thought on that point, but I hope that I have convinced her that there are serious problems that have to be considered in the Home Office. Perhaps she will consider that, and I will ask my advisers to try again to see if they can devise a method of extension. I hope that I have given a reasonable account of a problem which I confess is a rather difficult one.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I am much obliged to the noble and learned Viscount for the assurance he has given in his closing remarks. Perhaps I may say that Section 67 of the Children and Young Persons Act is not wholly applicable, because the conditions on which the interim order is made are different, and the places of safety 585 to which children and young persons can be committed under that section are much wider and different from those which are contemplated under this clause of the Bill now before the Committee. I must say that I feel distressed at the absence of any great sense or urgency about young people being delayed even a week longer than may be absolutely necessary while decisions are made about their future. I find it extremely difficult to believe that the speed at which the mind of the Secretary of State moves, with all the resources at his command, is slower than the speed at which the minds of the amateur justices throughout the country move, with all the variability of intelligence and qualifications which they have. Nevertheless, as the noble and learned Viscount has suggested that he may think again about the possibility of allowing a second remand in really difficult cases, I am glad to accept that assurance and beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 9.18 p.m.
LORD SILKIN moved to add to subsection (1):
Provided that before a warrant is issued—
§ The noble Lord said: This Amendment is on the same subject as the one we have just been discussing. As the Committee will have by now appreciated, the Amendments deal with boys who are alleged to be unruly or difficult at approved schools. Under this clause, it is possible for the managers, or one of them, to go to a magistrate and get an order to have the boy forcibly removed from the school and put into detention for anything up to 28 days, while consideration is given to what is to be done with him. But all this time the boy has not had an opportunity of being heard. The application is made with-out the boy's having a chance to say anything, and he is detained, perhaps for a considerable period. without his having a chance to say anything.586
§ We have it on the authority of no less a person than the noble Viscount the Leader of the House that sometimes these young boys are innocent. It is possible for an application to be made on the ground that a boy is unruly or difficult at the approved school without there being much justification for the accusation. There may be a mistake, or some of the other boys may have been "ganging up" against him; and the boy never has a chance to state his case—I hope that I am not interrupting the conversation that is going on.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am sorry. Perhaps I might tell the noble Lord that we were considering the important point as to how far we should go tonight; but I was following him with one part of my brain, at the same time. However. I apologise to the noble Lord.
§ LORD SILKIN
I hope that the Lord Chancellor will follow this argument with all the force of his great mind, because this is a most important question—namely, the liberty of the subject. Even if the subject is only an inmate of an approved school, he is entitled to have justice, and not to be forcibly removed, as Clause 15 provides, without his having the chance to say anything on his own behalf" This Amendment provides that before the warrant is issued the magistrate should have a chance of hearing what the boy has to say. It may well be that he has nothing to say, or that he is guilty of what is alleged against him. On the other hand, he may be able to throw up quite a number of things about the administration of the approved school about which it will be valuable to know. In any case, it really is elementary justice that he should be able to have his say. As the noble and learned Viscount will be the first to admit, you must not only do justice, but you must appear to do justice. It is damaging to this young person's idea of justice if a thing like this can happen at such an early stage, and if he can be tried, and virtually condemned, before he has had a chance to say anything.
The second part of the Amendment provides that the Home Office should be consulted before anything irrevocable is done with the boy. That. I think, is common sense. It may well be that the boy has been sent to the wrong kind of 587 approved school, and that his case requires more skill and careful treatment; therefore the Home Office ought to be brought in before the final decision is taken. I hope that, even if the wording of the Amendment is not what the Lord Chancellor would approve, he will accept the sentiments behind it—namely, the chance of the boy's being heard before he is forcibly removed from the approved school; and that the Home Office should be consulted before the final decision is made. I beg to move.
Page 10, line 23, at end insert the said proviso.—(Lord Silkin.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am rather surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has taken this view. His proviso (a) would add a provision that a person about whom an information is laid under the subsection should have the right to be heard by a justice. I am sure the noble Lord will appreciate that the power of removal conferred by the clause is intended for use in an emergency, when quick action is essential. If he has Mr. Durand's Report in front of him, he will see that Mr. Durand, who, as he knows, is a Queen's Counsel of great experience in criminal matters, says in paragraph 160, sub-paragraph (1) of the Report:Any procedure involving delays by reference to a court or the seeking of a justice of the peace would defeat the prime object of prompt removal by the arm of the law.The Ingleby Committee, on the other hand, considered it important that the warrant to the police should be signed by a justice of the peace, and said:This should not necessarily involve undue delay".The Government accept the Committee's view. But to go further and require the person whose removal is sought to be brought before the justice before a warrant can be issued would be a grave impediment to the effective use of the clause. One must bear in mind the question, if he is, as the managers allege, a serious threat to the discipline of the school, who is to bring him and ensure his safe custody. I am always very susceptible to an appeal on the grounds of the liberty of the subject, but if a person who is completely at liberty may be arrested on a justices' warrant without 588 any opportunity to be heard by the justice before it is issued—and that is the position of the ordinary application for a warrant—it does not seem unreasonable that a person already detained by order of a court in one place should, in an emergency, be liable to be temporarily removed on the same conditions, either to an institution of the same kind or to another where the regime is not more severe.
I am happy to inform the noble Lord that with regard to proviso (b) this part of the Amendment is unnecessary, because the only way in which a person may be permanently transferred from one approved school to another is by an order of the Secretary of State under Paragraph 9 of the Fourth Schedule. Therefore, the matter does come to the Secretary of State, and I should have thought that that would have been some comfort to the noble Lord. Because, of course, when it comes to the Secretary of State he will get information as to the position in the school, which is one of the points the noble Lord thought might be brought up by his proviso (a).
I have such respect for the noble Lord's doubts about any matter of legal procedure, that of course I will look into it again. But that was the impression I got—that we are only applying, in circumstances where someone has already been detained under the order of the court, procedure which is applied to persons at liberty. If the noble Lord would like me to consider it again, I should be pleased to do so.
§ LORD SILKIN
I shall be greatly obliged if the noble and learned Viscount will consider it, and consider it free from the analogy. I never like arguing by analogy, and I do not think this is an analogy. I am bound to say that the argument the noble and learned Viscount put forward—that the fact that this boy is already in an approved school, as a result of some previous delinquency, should weight the case against him in advance and make it less necessary that he should be heard on a second occasion—seems to me rather strange. I think it is all the more necessary, because it is so much easier to bring up charges against somebody who is already, in the eyes of the law, a delinquent.
589 I see the point about the urgency. There may be cases of urgency, and I would rather deal with cases of urgency and emergency as such, without making a general rule that all these things can happen to a boy without his having a chance to be heard. May I say a word about the analogy? A person is prosecuted by the police. They make a case and a warrant is issued, but the accused person has to be brought up the very next day. He cannot be made to hang around the courts. Afterwards, he is remanded, but he may be remanded on bail. Every case has to be brought up immediately. Therefore, even if the noble and learned Viscount decides that it, is necessary to legislate for an emergency for the really exceptional case, I feel that in the normal case it should be possible for the boy to be heard. I see no reason why he should not be heard at the time when the warrant is applied for. There will be no delay. Why not bring the boy before the magistrate at the time of the application for a warrant? The magistrate may say, "Now, my boy, have you anything to say as to why the warrant should not be 'Issued against you?" The boy will tell his story, and it will be for the magistrate to decide. I should be grateful if the noble and learned Viscount would look at this point again. I attach considerable importance to this Amendment. On paragraph (b), I gladly accept the noble and learned Viscount's assurance, and if it is not necessary, obviously I am not going to press it. Before I withdraw the Amendment, my noble friend Lord Stonham would like to say say a word.
§ LORD STONHAM
I do hone that the noble and learned Viscount, will consider, when he is looking at this point, that the Amendment proposed by my noble friend would avoid the possibility of an inefficient manager getting away with something against a child. If an offence is committed in prison the visiting magistrate sees the prisoner. So there is no new principle in this. I hope that that aspect will be considered, too.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 9.32 p.m
§ LORD STONHAM moved in subsection (3) to leave out "forty-eight" and insert 590 "twenty-four" [hours]. The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 29, which has the purpose of reducing from 48 to 24 the maximum number of hours that a child being moved to another approved school can be kept in a police station. I thought that this Amendment had so much to commend it by way of charity and unanswerability that I was tempted to adopt my noble friend Lord Longford's technique and threaten not to move it, in the certainty that the Government would then jump in and say they were going to accept it. But as that has not happened, I had better say why I think the Government should accept it.
§ When a removal of this kind has been ordered, either from one approved school to another or to a remand centre or remand home, the place has already been found and decided upon. That is laid down in the clause; it has to be done beforehand, before the child is removed. Therefore there is no justification for any lengthy delay. All that really has to happen is that the child is taken from one place to be sent to another. It may well be that the second approved school may be some distance away, but all the delay necessary is perhaps two or three hours in order to catch a train. You have only to decide on the train and take the child to the train, and take him or her to the other place. So there can be no possible justification for keeping the child for two nights and two days in a police station. For what purpose—to put a fresh scare into the child? You are not going to train the child in the 48 hours he or she is in the police station.
§ It would seem to me that an even lesser period of time than we have suggested, 24 hours, would be sufficient, but we want to be reasonable about these things and we feel that the period of 24 hours for this removal is quite enough. I would point out that none of the institutions concerned, approved schools, remand homes or remand centres when we have them, close at the week-ends, so it cannot be argued that we must have this 48 hours because they may be closed on Saturdays or closed on Sundays. It is simply a case of arranging a train or car journey, and that can be done well inside 24 hours. I would suggest that to allow a permitted time of 48 hours between going from one annroved school to another is merely to bolster something that could be quite 591 inefficient and possibly unnecessarily harmful to the young person. I hope the Government will accept it. I beg to move.
Page 10, line 38, leave out ("forty-eight") and insert ("twenty-four").—(Lord Stonham.)
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
I have no idea how many of your Lordships may involuntarily have spent 24 hours in a police cell. but I am quite sure that those of your Lordships who have, or those of your Lordships who are acquainted with this experience even at second hand, would view with the greatest alarm and distress that any of your children should spend not only 24 hours, but actually 48 hours, in these conditions, no matter how recalcitrant those children were. I should like to suggest that this is one of the occasions when we should apply to other people's children the same standards that we should wish applied to our own.
Of course, I have never been 24 hours in a police cell, but I have been in one for a minute or two. Nowadays, police cells are quite different from what they were. The advent of the motor car has altered the set-up, and whereas a person once spent a day or two days in a cell, it is now rarely that one spends more than a few hours there. Almost at once people are taken off to the county gaol to await trial, if they are not bailed within a few hours. Not only would the situation which is envisaged be bad for the boy, but it would impose a great strain on the police officers concerned.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am not sure that I fully appreciated the point that really motivated Lord Stonham, because the reason for enabling a person removed under the clause to be taken first to a police station is that, in the kind of emergency in which the clause is likely to be invoked, it might well be necessary to remove an unruly or subversive pupil from a school before there was time to find a vacancy for him in another institution. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, believed that there had to be a vacancy before he was removed. I do not think that that is the position, because if he looks at subsection (3) he will see that 592The institution to which a person is to be removed in pursuance of a warrant under subsection (1) of this section may be specified either in the warrant as issued or by the subsequent endorsement of any justice of the peace, in either case upon intimation that arrangements have been made for the reception of that person therein.Unless I have got it wrong, that means that you can have a warrant for removal but if after that you have an intimation that arrangements have been made for the reception of that person therein, you can have a subsequent endorsement of the warrant. I will look into that in case I am under any misapprehension; but I certainly was under the impression that the clause might be invoked and it might be necessary to remove an unruly or subversive pupil before there was time to find a vacancy in another institution, and he would need to be kept in secure custody in the interval.
May I say at once that I am quite sure that everyone concerned will naturally be anxious to get him sent on to the other institution as soon as possible, and in the ordinary way 24 hours would no doubt give time enough in which to find a vacancy. But I should have thought that one cannot be certain that it will always be long enough, and I am not sure that Lord Stonham's view that there will always be somebody at the other approved school at a week-end is a complete answer. If the emergency arose at a week-end (as happened at Carlton School) I should have thought it might reasonably be necessary to allow more than 24 hours to find a place for the boy.
A police station is certainly not a suitable place for detaining a young person for any long period, but I think these cases should be rare; and I should have thought that it was safer, because one does not want to have applications to the court for habeas corpus and actions for false imprisonment on a difference between 24 hours and 48 hours. But I will look into the question again and see whether one can devise some method, rather on the lines I thought of in the other case, for an extension in a special case or by applying again to the justice, or something of that kind. I am just as anxious as anyone that the child should not be detained in the police station.
I would only say this. I do not know how far my noble friend Lord Raglan 593 went, but I am glad to say that in the new police buildings which I have opened in the last few years there is a great improvement. There are not the same physical surroundings as we think of in those we knew before the last war. But I do not think that that is in a sense the really relevant point. The relevant point is that you do not want a child there a minute longer than is necessary; and I should like to have another look at that. But we were afraid that it might cause these difficulties over the weekend. I will certainly look at it again.
§ 9.43 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
I am naturally always grateful for the assurance of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor that he will look at our proposals. But I am rather disappointed that he has not accepted this Amendment right away. He said that he was not sure of the purpose motivating the Amendment. I should have thought that no Amendment could have been clearer than this. It exactly says that we do not want a child to stay in a police station for 48 hours; we want the maximum to be 24. That is the whole purpose motivating this Amendment and we feel very strongly about it. In order to reassure us the noble and learned Viscount said that this would not happen very often. But if it will not happen very often, why not accept the Amendment and leave the onus of difficulty on the managers of the school?
The noble and learned Viscount may remember that on Second Reading I intervened during his winding-up speech because of a reference he made to Carlton School. He has referred several times to Mr. Durand and the Carlton School Inquiry in discussions and debates within the last hour. This is precisely the kind of case that our Amendment, or its acceptance, would help to avoid. The noble and learned Viscount must know that in the case of Warwick Assizes, where five boys from the Carlton Approved School were charged with causing grievous bodily harm to another boy, the head-
§ master of the Carlton School got up in front of the Judge and said he did not recommend that they should be removed to borstal but thought.they should be removed to another approved school. The Judge accepted that advice, in that the boys were not sent to borstal. But they did not go to another approved school: they went back to Carbon. The headmaster took no steps in the matter whatever, as Mr. Durand says in his Report. So there was a crisis and the police were called in. No doubt, as it was at the week-end, a case could be made out, in those exceptional circumstances, for calling in the police and saying the boys must he kept in a police station for 48 hours because one could not find a place quickly enough somewhere else—but it was solely because of the gross inefficiency in the management.
§ That is the kind of thing that we should not tolerate in our legislation. If there is a benefit of the doubt to be given, it should be given to the child and not to the inefficient manager. I am bound to say that this Amendment is absolutely clear. It says precisely what we want to do, and I think it is justified. The noble Lord, Lord Raglan, from his vast experience in these matters, has said that a person would not normally be kept in a police station long, and we know that things have improved, but to us it is the connotation—the fact that the boy is kept in "the nick", as he calls it, for 48 hours. It is quite wrong and quite unrecessiry. We think that those who are headmasters, or managers, of approved schools, if they are doing their job properly, should be in a position to make arrangements to remove boys who have to be removed in such a way that they can be transferred to other suitable institutions within 24 hours. I do not know what my noble friends will feel, but I think that is the stand which we must take.
§ On Question, Whether the said new clause shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 18; Not-Contents, 36.595
|Alexander of Hillsborough, V.||Lawson, L.||Shackleton, L.|
|Amwell, L.||Longford, E.||Silkin, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Lucan, E. [Teller.]||Stonham, L. [Teller.]|
|Burden, L.||Moyne, L.||Strang, L.|
|Crook, L.||Raglan, L.||Terrington, L.|
|Henderson, L.||Ravensdale of Kedleston, B.||Wootton of Abinger, B.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Furness, V.||Milverton, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Hastings, L.||Newall, L.|
|Ashton of Hyde, L.||Horsbrugh, B.||Newton, L. [Teller.]|
|Bathurst, E.||Iddesleigh, E.||Perth, E.|
|Brecon, L.||Jellicoe, E.||Radnor, E.|
|Buckinghamshire, E.||Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Rathcavan, L.|
|Casey, L.||Kinnaird, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]|
|Davidson, V.||Lambert, V.||St. Oswald, L.|
|Dundee, E.||Long, V.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Elliot of Harwood, B.||Margesson, V.||Waldegrave, E.|
|Fortescue, E.||Massereene and Ferrard, V.||Waleran, L.|
|Fraser of North Cape, L.||Merthyr, L.||Wolverton, L.|
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ 9.53 p.m.
I beg to move the next Amendment. Subsection (5) says:Where a person is detained in an institution or police station by virtue of a warrant under this section, then, without prejudice to any other power exercisable in relation to that person by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may direct that, before the expiration of the period for which that person is authorised to be so detained, he shall be returned to the school from which he was removed or first removed.I think that is the last thing that ought to happen to him. Here is this boy. He is too tough for the school, so he is removed to a police station. From there he may be removed to a remand home, a remand centre or somewhere else, and then he is to be taken back to the school from which he came. That seems to me to be a most extraordinary provision, and I suggest that the Secretary of State, wherever he sends him, should not send him back to the school from which he was removed. I beg to move.
Page 11, line 10, leave out from the second ("be") to the end of line 11, and insert ("removed to an approved school other than that from which he was previously removed.") —(Lord Raqlan.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Subsection (5) of Clause 15 enables the Secretary of State to direct that a person removed from an approved school under the clause shall be returned to the school from which he was removed. The Amendment would convert this power into a power to direct the person's removal to an approved school other than the one from which he was removed. There is no need for such a power as my noble friend's Amendment would give. Subsection (4) of Clause 15 will provide for temporary transfer to another approved school; and the Secre- 596 tary of State already has power, under paragraph 9 of the Fourth Schedule to the Act of 1933, to order a permanent transfer. The point of the Amendment seems to be that my noble friend is opposed to the idea that a person removed under subsection (1) of the clause should ever be returned to the school from which he was removed; my noble friend said that on Second Reading as well as on this occasion.
The clause enables the person to be removed from an approved school anddetained for a period of twenty-eight days unless sooner dealt with according to law.There are various ways in which a person removed under subsection (1) may be dealt with according to law. For example, first of all the managers might, with the consent of the Secretary of State, charge him before a magistrates' court with serious misconduct under Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act. Secondly, if he were detained as an offender, the managers might bring him before a magistrates' court under Clause 16 of the Bill. Thirdly, if he were found to be suffering from mental disorder, the Secretary of State might give a direction for his transfer to hospital under Section 72 of the Mental Health Act. And fourthly, the Secretary of State might transfer him to another training school better able to deal with him.
Each of these courses would require action by, or the consent of the Secretary of State; but it is possible that in a particular case he might consider that none of them was appropriate, and that it would, after all, be best for the recalcitrant to return to the approved school from which he had been removed. Under subsection (6) a person removed under subsection (1) must in any case return to that school at the end of the 28 days, unless he has been previously dealt with 597 according to law; and it would clearly be best that he should be returned without delay, as subsection (5) enables, as soon as it has been decided that that is the appropriate course in his case.
There are two sets of circumstances, I suggest, in which the Secretary of State might be justified in returning someone to the school from which he had been removed. The first is where the managers of the school themselves decide that he can safely be received back, either because conditions there have changed, or because, on reflection, they take a different view of the situation. The second is where the Secretary of State himself, after considering the managers' views and the other information before him, considers that the continued detention of the person away from his school would not be justified. No doubt it would be an exceptional course to return him to the approved school from which he had been removed, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. The Government therefore consider it necessary that provision should be made for it, and that the Secretary of State should have a complete discretion to cover all sets of circumstances. I am sure the noble Lord's great ancestor, to whom he referred to-day, found over and over again in the Peninsula that the only certain rule in life is that the unexpected happens. The reason that Lord FitzR oy Somerset was such a good Chief of Staff was that he always provided for the unexpected; and therefore, unexpected though his descendant may find this course, I would suggest that he should empower the Secretary of State to deal with the matter.
I thank the noble and learned Viscount for his kind reference to my ancestor. He has not altogether dispelled my scruples about this procedure, and I must say that the whole of this clause seems to me to expect the unexpected. I beg to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 15, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 16 and 17 agreed to.
§ Clause 18 [Directions as to management of approved schools]:
This Amendment deals with a rather different point. The position is that the Secretary of State now has power to withdraw his certificate from any approved school of which 598 he disapproves, and he has done so in the past for various reasons. Sometimes it has been because the school was considered redundant; sometimes because the buildings were considered unsuitable; maybe, on occasion (though I do not know of such a case), because he has disapproved of the managers. When he withdraws a certificate—at least that is what has happened hitherto, and I do not see anything in the Bill to alter it—the school ceases to exist. All the members of the staff are dismissed; the boys are all transferred, and the whole school is closed down.
The school with which I have the honour to be connected at the present time belongs to the public, and a great deal of public money is spent on it. Suppose that the Secretary of State were to decide that he strongly disapproved of me, and would like to get rid of me —a thing that I think is unlikely, but conceivable—his only course would be to withdraw the certificate. Not only should I be removed but everybody else in the school would be removed, too. J cannot think that that is a very sensible kind of arrangement, and this Amendment is intended to provide that, if the Secretary of State wanted to remove me, he could do so without closing down the school. I beg to move.
Page 13, line 36, leave out from ("section") to the end of line 40 and insert ("he may make such changes in the board of managers as he considers necessary to remedy this state of affairs.").—(Lord Raglan.)
§ 10.3 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
As I understand the position, the Secretary of State has power under Section 79 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, to withdraw his certificate not only where he is dissatisfied with the condition of an approved school or considers its continuance as an approved school unnecessary, but also where he is dissatisfied with its management. In practice, however, managers usually accept the advice and guidance offered them by the Home Office, and the power to withdraw the certificate of approval remains in the background as an ultimate sanction that is rarely, if ever, invoked. If Clause 18 is enacted into law, the fact that Parliament has decided to confer on the Secretary of State an express statutory power to issue 599 directions will in most cases be sufficient to ensure compliance with any directions he may give. If it should happen that the managers of a particular school fail to carry out a direction under the clause, the Secretary of State is not bound to withdraw his certificate of approval; he may instead, if he thinks it appropriate, use his power under Clause 19 (3) to appoint additional members of the board of managers, and that, I think, is what my noble friend Lord; Raglan has in mind.
May I interrupt the noble and learned Viscount? I am not dealing with that point at all. That comes under another subsection.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I am sorry if I have not followed the noble Lord. His Amendment, at page 13, line 36, would leave out:subsection (2) of section seventy-nine of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933 (which empowers the Secretary of State in certain circumstances to withdraw his certificate of approval) shall apply as it applies where he is dissatisfied as mentioned in that section.As I pointed out, the Secretary of State may be dissatisfied as to the condition of the school or its continuance may appear to him unnecessary; or he may be dissatisfied with the management. The fact that Parliament has decided to confer on the Secretary of State an express statutory power to issue directions would in most cases be sufficient, but we have to consider the position beyond that. Assume that the directions are given, which in most cases will be sufficient, then we come to the point where it appears to the Secretary of State that the managers of an approved school have failed to give effect to the directions. Then he can issue the certificate. That seems to me to be a reasonable reserve power. But it is only a permissive power; the Secretary of State is not hound to withdraw that certificate of approval.
Would my noble friend do me the honour of looking at Clause 14? If the Secretary of State is satisfied that by reason of a special circumstance it is necessary to do it in the interests of the efficient management of the school, he may appoint one or more persons as additional members of the body constituting the managers of the school. It seems to me that that is another course 600 which the Home Secretary may follow, and that it would have the same effect as this Amendment.
With respect to the noble and learned Viscount, the point is, as I understand it, that he cannot remove the manager without closing the school.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
He could give directions—in most cases the directions would be followed—and if they were not followed he could take that course. But he could also, if he considered it was necessary in the interests of efficient management, appoint additional members of the board of managers, which would have the effect of reconstituting the board of management. I should have thought that would have brought about the same result. However, if my noble friend, with his experience, does not think it would bring about the same result, I will look at his suggestion as to whether one should introduce somewhere the other changes in the board. I do not think that is likely to be necessary, because it would mean that he would have to get rid of existing managers and not close the school—and that is what my noble friend wants. I assure him that in the present shortage of approved school accommodation the Home Secretary would consider every practical alternative before deciding to close a school. This power is an ultimate sanction when all other means have failed; and anyone who has had to deal with the building programme and knows the shortage would go to great lengths before he would use this power. I will look at the point again, but I do not think my noble friend need trouble greatly over it.
§ BARONESS WOOTTON OF ABINGER
This seems to put the managers of an approved school in a position comparable with that of this House. If the composition of this House is not agreeable to the Government, then the only way to change it is to recommend Her Majesty to create new Peers of a more acceptable attitude, there being no opportunity of getting rid of those Peers whose views may be unacceptable. It seems to me an extraordinary thing that the managers of an approved school should be assimilated to the position of your Lordships' House.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
This is all very well, but I would venture to say a word, because it appears to me to raise 601 delicate and difficult issues in relation to approved schools connected with religious denominations, which I hope we shall not have to raise and which we have all tried not to raise. The issues are delicate and difficult, and I think that must be remembered in this connection.
§ LORD S1LKIN
I think the noble and learned Viscount has made a case for having, as a last resort, the power to remove the certificate, but I do not think that that altogether meets the case of the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, which is that the less drastic course would be appropriate in a great many cases. It should not be necessary to carry the thing out by means of adding a sufficient number of managers to out-vote the existing managers. I think the Home Secretary ought to have the right to remove managers as a less drastic course of action than the ultimate sanction of withdrawing the certificate. I suggest that that might be considered.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I will certainly consider it. My noble friend Lord Iddesleigh has raised an important point. I do not think we need go into the ramifications of it, but one can imagine circumstances arising. I do not want to invent circumstances merely to illustrate it, because it might be taken that I thought they were likely to occur. I think that in the vast majority of cases the directions will be enough to make the thing work out. But I will willingly have a look at it. It is not a question on which one need take a stand either way. It is a question of trying to find out the best plan, and I will willingly communicate my noble friend Lord Raglan's doubts to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary and have another look at the point.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 18 agreed to.
§ Clause 19:
§ Constitution of managers
§ 19.—(1) The Secretary of State may by order make provision for regulating the constitution and proceedings of the managers of any approved school other than a school provided by a local authority or by a joint committee representing two or more local authorities; and any such order shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any trust deed relating to the school.602
§ 10.13 p.m.
LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (1), to omit
other than a school provided by a local authority or by a joint committee representing two or more local authorities.
The noble Lord said: I trust it will be convenient if I move this Amendment and Amendment No. 33 together, as they deal with precisely the same point. Clause 19 gives the Secretary of State authority to make provision for regaiatinc the constitution and proceedings of the managers of any approved school, other than a school provided by a local authority or more than one local authority acting jointly. This Amendment seeks to give the Home Secretary authority over all approved schools. Through the customary courtesy and efficiency of the solicitor of the London County Council, I learn that the County Council are opposed to these Amendments. They have been kind enough to let me know their two objections. The first is that local authorities have wide experience of dealing with approved schools, and they feel that if these powers were applied to them it might lead to considerable interference in the running of their approved schools and it might, in an extreme case, involve the taking over of an approved school.
§ I think this objection virtually makes my case, because if conditions are such that interference is necessary, or there is a possibility that the school might be so badly run as to need to be taken over, then obviously the Home Secretary should have powers to do so. They are the powers I seek to give him. The second objection by the London County Council is that the managers of a local approved school are responsible to an elected public authority, and there is thus no need for any control by the Secretary of State. I would say at once that so far as the L.C.C. is concerned their approved schools are well run and there is no likelihood that even if the Home Secretary had the power there would be any need or wish on his part to interfere.
§ But after discussing this matter with people who are in a position to judge, I find this is by no means true of all local authority schools. In particular, some local authorities refuse to co-out on to the management committees of their approved schools members who 603 are not elected members of the local authority, and in those areas it denies the chance of service to people with experience and perhaps even dedication to this particular work, and in areas where there is more or less a permanent majority of one political Party and sometimes even no Opposition Party at all on a local authority, the claim to being responsible to an elected body loses somewhat of its value, because criticism cannot find effective expression —at least, not in the council chamber.
§ In my view, efficient local authorities would have nothing to fear from these Amendments, whilst the inefficient ones should have an independent supervisor, and the Home Secretary should have power to appoint additional managers. It would, in my view, do a great deal of good in places where improvement is most needed, and I hope that the Government will in fact do the bold thing, accept the Amendment and arm the Home Secretary with the necessary powers. I beg to move.
Page 13, line 43, leave out from first ("school") to ("and") in line 12.—(Lord Stonham.)
§ LORD MILVERTON
I rise to oppose this Amendment on administrative grounds. I have taken the trouble to ascertain the views of the Association of Municipal Corporations, who are strongly opposed to the suggested Amendments. As the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has just said, the Bill will empower the Home Secretary to make these orders regulating the constitution and proceedings of the managers of approved schools and to appoint one or more persons as additional managers. It is, however, expressly provided that the Home Secretary has no such power in relation to approved schools provided by local authorities. The effect of the two Amendments proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, will be to insert that power.
As your Lordships know, approved schools may be provided by county borough councils and county councils and by voluntary organisations under Sections 79 and 80 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933. These establishments are approved schools only if they have a certificate of approval from the Home Secretary. At present I 604 understand there are 26 approved schools provided by local authorities and 91 by voluntary organisations. The thing which was not stressed at all by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, is that the general financial principle is that the cost of approved schools should be borne equally by the Exchequer and the local authorities, whether the school is provided by a local authority or by a voluntary organisation. Under Section 90 of the 1933 Act, thelocal authority named in the approved school order as being the authority within whose district the person to whom the order relates was resident or within whose district either the offence was committed or the circumstances arose making that person liable to be sent to an approved school is required to contribute towards his maintenance in the approved school at a prescribed rate.Half the cost of maintenance is met by the local authority's contribution, and half comes from the Exchequer Branch. Thus virtually the whole of the cost of approved schools, whether provided by local authorities or voluntary organisations, is met from public funds. In those circumstances, the powers proposed for the Home Secretary under Clause 19 as drafted in the Bill may be considered desirable.
The Government spokesman said when the clause was considered in Standing Committee in another place that the Home Secretary is in agreement with the views which have been expressed that there might well be a measure of representation of the local authority interest upon the management committee of voluntary approved schools. It would be appropriate that local authorities should be so represented, because they pay half the cost of maintaining persons sent to approved schools maintained by voluntary organisations. There would also be the most important advantage that the representative of the local authority would be aware of, and be able to secure, that use was made of the services of children's departments of county borough councils, and county councils, and of the other services of these councils, to ensure that all available resources are utilised for the benefit of the children and young persons in the approved school.
But in the case of an approved school provided by the local authority the managers of the school are the council of the county borough or county 605 council concerned. These local authorities meet half the cost of running the schools, the other half being met by Exchequer grant. Also, these authoriti are, in the words of the Local Government Manpower Committee Memorandum of Guidance, stated to beresponsible bodies, competent to discharge their own functions, and they exercise their responsibilities in their own right not ordinarily as agents of Government departments".Although it comes rather funnily from the other side of the House, the noble Lord Lord Stonham, rather made light of the fact that these local authorities are answerable to the electorate. Managers of approved schools provided by voluntary organisations are not answerable to any electorate.
In principle, it is inconsistent with the status and responsibility of local authorities that the Home Secretary should be empowered to regulate their constitution and proceedings in the discharge of their functions in regard to their own approved schools, and equally objectionable and unnecessary for him to be authorised to appoint persons to be additional managers of local authority approved schools — persons who, although not answerable to the electorate, would have equal powers of and control over the expenditure of public monies with the members of local authorities elected by the electorate for that purpose.
I do not know from what source, other than the somewhat vague reference made by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, the Home Secretary would seek to obtain the persons to be appointed, or for what purpose they would be appointed. Local knowledge, which might be a qualification, is already possessed by the elected representatives; special professional qualifications or interests are already possessed by the elected representatives and by the officers of the county borough council or county council. Financial considerations seem unlikely to be the ground for these outside appointments. The Home Secretary's existing powers in regard to the approval of expenditure and the determination of maintenance payments to be made by local authorities are already very considerable, and he has never himself suggested that they are inadequate. The persons the Home Secretary would appoint to serve on the management committees of approved 606 schools provided by voluntary organisations are likely to be precisely the members of local authorities, children's authorities, county borough councils and county councils, for the reasons I have already mentioned. Management committees of local authorities' approved schools are already comprised of members of these local authorities. The grounds for the appointment of additional persons do not apply to the case of local authority approved schools. For these reasons I strongly oppose the Amendment and hope the Government will reject it.
§ 10.27 p.m.
My noble friend Lord Milverton has explained most clearly to the Committee what would be the effect of the two Amendments under the names of the noble Lord, Lord Stonharn, and my noble friend Lord Raglan. As my noble friend Lord Milverton said, the managers of an approved school provided by a local authority or a joint committee representing two or more local authorities are the local authority or the joint committee themselves. That is under the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, Section 107. That is a fact which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, did not bring out to the Committee.
To give the Home Secretary power to regulate the constitution and proceedings of the managers of such a school would be to give him the power to regulate the constitution and proceedings of the local authorities themselves. It would also mean giving him power to appoint additional managers, which could mean only enabling him to add his own nominees to the elected members of the local authorities. My noble friend Lord Milverton has given us a graphic description of the objections to such a course, if my right honourable friend were able to take it. I myself, not long ago, pointed out objections to a rather similar Amendment which the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, moved.
The movers of this Amendment may have in mind, not the local authorities themselves (and I rather think that that is what is in Lord Stonham's mind) but the joint committee or sub-committee to whom the local authorities delegate the management of the school. If the school 607 is provided by one local authority then that local authority is required to consider a report from its children's committee to whom all matters relating to the management of that school stand referred before exercising any of their functions relating to that school. The authority may authorise the committee to exercise any of those functions on their behalf. The committee may, subject to any restrictions imposed by the local authority, establish a sub-committee and authorise the sub-committee to exercise any of this committee's functions, under the Children Act, 1948, Section 39.
The managers of an approved school provided by a combination of local authorities are the joint committee appointed by the local authorities for the purpose. That committee may be set up under the general power of local authorities to appoint joint committees under the Local Government Act, 1933, or as a joint sub-committee of local authorities' children's committees, under the Children Act, 1948. In addition to these statutory provisions, local authorities have power, under Section 96 of the Local Government Act, 1933, to make standing orders "respecting the quorum, proceedings and place of meeting", of their committees or their joint committees. I mention this, going into some detail, out of respect for the noble Lord. Lord Stonham. These local authorities themselves, the sub-committees themselves and the school managers are tightly controlled by the statutory provisions. Thus, full provision is already made for the way in which local authorities are to exercise their functions to provide school management.
We must agree with my noble friend Lord Milverton—and he speaks for so many bodies of the local authorities—that there cannot be any justification for the central Government intervening in the way in which the local authorities conduct this part of their business. I am sorry that I am unable to follow in the footsteps of my noble and learned friend who sits upon the Woolsack, and to look into so many matters on Amendments, as he has just been doing. But this is a principle which I am quite sure that the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and his friends understand. I hope that, with my explanation, they will see the 608 reasons why my right honourable friend must give every support and help to local authorities in the management and the running of their approved schools, and must not be the one who waves the big stick to beat them over the head should they go wrong. I regret that I cannot accept the noble Lord's two Amendments.
§ 10.32 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
I am still not entirely happy about this matter. As it is a late hour, I do not pretend that I have given this matter the full consideration that I should have done, and perhaps I am wrong. But, as I understand it, the Amendment seeks to give the Secretary of State power to appoint managers to the local authority approved schools as well as to others. Is that the case?
§ LORD STONHAM
May I just interrupt? The Amendment seeks to give the Home Secretary in respect of local authority approved schools power which the Bill already gives him over other approved schools.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
Yes. But I cannot help feeling that this Amendment has a more serious value than has been admitted by the noble Earl, and I can only say that I regret that further consideration cannot be given to it.
§ LORD SILKIN
This proposed power is purely optional. The Secretary of State may make provision in the case of voluntary schools, and we suggest that he should also have authority to do the same, presumably only where necessary, in the case of local authority schools.
The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, elaborated the virtues of local authorities at very great length—their democracy, and so on. I fully agree with him. I should hate to think that the 21 years that I served on a democratic local authority were wasted. But the fact remains that there are occasions when it is desirable that the Secretary of State should have some control over the workings of these democratic approved schools run by local authorities. After all, this doctrine that the central Government must never interfere with local authorities because they are democratic does not apply throughout the realm of local government. Ministers are constantly exercising control over the activities of 609 local authorities, and I think it is right that they should. All that is suggested under my noble friend's Amendment—and, in fact, that is all he wants—is that where necessary the Secretary of State should have the right to make regulations for dealing with the constitution and proceedings of the managements. Where it is not necessary, of course, no sensible Secretary of State would intervene. In spite of the statement that the noble Earl does not think he ought to look at this again, I think it might be worth while. We are not going to press this Amendment to a Division, because the hour is late, but I do not think that the answer is entirely satisfactory.
I will certainly look at this point again, and will bring what the noble Lords have said to the attention a my right honourable friend. The noble Lord opposite has very much more experience than most of us with regard to local authority work. He appreciates that the local authority school has to run on certain lines, which I explained, I regret to say, rather technically, and which the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, explained much more graphically. It is really for that reason that we do not consider it necessary to take the powers for my right honourable friend which the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and my noble friend would like to see. I do not think that such powers would be necessary. Nevertheless, in view of what the noble Lord opposite has said, I will certainly ask my right honourable friend to look at these words.
§ LORD STONHAM
I am most grateful to the noble Earl, and especially grateful to my noble friend Lord Silkin for the manner in which he put his arguments, not only because of his record in local government, but especially because he had the original of a letter, of which I had only a copy, hoping that he would oppose my arguments. I am certainly delighted to find that he has been impressed with them. I think that, when he has examined this question the noble Earl will come to the same conclusion. If people look at the arguments objectively they may come to the conclusion that the right honourable gentleman the Home Secretary is in this matter more scared of local authorities than he is of Her Majesty's Opposition. 610 That seems to me the only reason why this Amendment could not be accepted. Anyway, I am most grateful for the assurance, and I hope that we shall have some proposals which will achieve at least something of what we have in mind. I beg leave to withdrawn the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 10.38 p.m.
The Parliamentary draftsman sometimes nods, and I think he nodded when he reached this point. "In the event" is a horrible circumlocution, and the phrase is uneconomic. I beg to move.
Page 14, line 24, leave out ("in the event of that school ceasing") and insert ("if that school ceases")—(Lord Raglan).
I am most grateful to my noble friend. I have much pleasure in accepting this Amendment. I congratulate him upon his economy of words.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Clause 20 imposes on the Secretary of State a statutory obligation to lay before Parliament an annual return of statistics relating to the approved school system in England and Wales, and in 1964, and every third year thereafter, a report on the work of the Home Office in relation to approved schools, and generally in relation to the working of the approved school system in England and Wales.
At the Report stage in another place, the Government accepted a suggestion that the scope of the annual return and triennial report should be extended, so as to include remand homes and attendance centres. The new Clause after Clause 25 gives effect to that undertaking, and reproduces Clause 20 with the necessary extension. I beg to move.
Leave out Clause 20.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Perhaps this would be a convenient moment to adjourn. I am very grateful to everyone who has taken part in the debate for 611 their contribution, and I beg to move this House do now resume.
§ Moved, That the House do now resume.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and House resumed accordingly.