§ Mr. RICHARDSON
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the cases of George M'Clure and William Henry Richardson, who were each sentenced to live years' detention in an industrial school on the 5th March, at Nottingham, for breaking into telephone boxes and stealing money there-from; whether he is aware that in the case of George M'Clure his late employer, the superintendent of the Band of Hope, and the superintendent of the Sunday school, of which he was a member, are all prepared to give him an excellent character up to the time of his arrest; that this was his first appearance before the magistrates, and that he is only 15 years of age; in view of these facts can he see his way clear to recommend a reduction of the sentence; and, in the case of William Henry Richardson, who is only 14 years of age, and this was his first appearance before the magistrates, can he in this case see his way clear to recommend a reduction of the sentence?
§ Mr. GLADSTONE
I have made inquiry into these cases, and find that in addition to the charge of which the boys were convicted, there were no less than 19 other felonies charged against them, to the whole of which they pleaded guilty. Most of these offences consisted of breaking into letterboxes or stealing letters containing postal orders, and in view of the number and seriousness of the offences, committal to reformatory schools appears to have been the best way of dealing with the offenders. The boys were committed, not for five years, but until the age of 19, and it will be within the discretion of the managers of the schools to release them on licence at an earlier date if the circumstances warrant it.