§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Lord ELTON rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 3rd July be approved.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the penultimate order standing in my name on the Order Paper. I beg to move that this order, which was laid before the House on 3rd July 1980, be approved. It may be for the con- 2025 venience of the House if I also outline the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Armed Forces (Northern Ireland Consequential Amendments) Order 1980 which is consequential upon this order and which will be moved immediately after it.
§ The Treatment of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order will make provision for the abolition of borstal training in Northern Ireland. The opening of the new young offenders centre at Hydebank Wood last year has enabled us to review our sentencing arrangements for young people in the 19 to 20 age group. The young offenders centre has very good facilities for 300 young people, with first class provision for education and training, including fine workshops, playing fields and a gym. The régime at the young offenders centre is very similar to that at borstal, and it caters for roughly the same age group. A borstal sentence is therefore much the same as a young offenders centre sentence except that it is indeterminate, subject to a maximum of two years. This produces some anomalies. The abolition of borstal will obviate these anomalies and will give greater flexibility in the use of accommodation. It will mean that in future all custodial sentences will be determinate. The courts will be able to fix the length of the sentence in relation to the seriousness of the offence, subject to a maximum of three years which, with full remission, would mean 18 months in custody.
§ The Criminal Justice and Armed Forces (Northern Ireland Consequential Amendments) Order will amend first the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1961 and also those of the Army Act 1955, of the Air Force Act 1955 and of the Naval Discipline Act 1957 so that young offenders may be transferred between young offenders institutions and borstal institutions in Scotland, or borstal institutions in England, and the young offenders centre in Northern Ireland.
§ I commend these orders to your Lordships as a necessary and desirable rationalisation of the custodial provisions for young offenders in Northern Ireland. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the draft Order laid before the House on 3rd July be approved.— (Lord Elton.)2026
§ Lord BLEASE
My Lords, I understand that the Treatment of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order considerably improves the situation in Northern Ireland. I understand it to be somewhat in advance of the situation over here. Therefore, I wish it well. I hope that these young offenders centres will contribute towards making reformed and good citizens in Northern Ireland. Therefore, the order has my approval.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.