HC Deb 30 June 1915 vol 72 cc1813-4W

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that in 1914 nearly 900 boys and girls under nineteen years of age were on conviction received into Scottish prisons, exclusive of Borstal institutions; and whether he is able to state, apart from making Returns or tabulating statistics, whether the prison population under nineteen years in England and Wales is approximately the same percentage of the population as in Scotland, or whether special circumstances and conditions exist the operation of which may be taken to reduce or increase the ratio in England and Wales?

Sir J. Simon

During the year ending 31st March, 1915, there were 4,088 offenders between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one received on conviction into-prisons in England and Wales (exclusive of committals to Borstal institutions). This number has been a decreasing one for many years, having fallen from 16,188 in 1902–3 to the figure named above in 1914–15, or 75 per cent. in twelve years. The figure gives a ratio of 11.1 such committals per 100,000 of population, which compares very favourably with the figure quoted for Scotland, if the latter excludes offenders of twenty and twenty-one. The Prison Commissioners are of opinion, as stated in their reports, that the institution of Borstal committees for the purpose of the "Modified" Borstal Scheme (i.e., for all prisoners of sixteen to twenty-one sentenced to imprisonment) has been a very effective agency in reducing the-number of young offenders committed to prison.