HC Deb 12 November 1917 vol 99 cc65-6W

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that on 12th October the Long Ashton, Somerset, magistrates sent a boy of eleven, named Stokes, to a reformatory till he was 16 for keeping bad company; that the only charge against him was for taking money from a schoolboy's pocket, which was returned soon after, and that the boy's parents were too poor to employ legal defence; and whether he will inquire into the case with a view to mitigate the punishment?


I have made inquiry, and find that this boy was committed to an industrial school (not a reformatory) on a conviction for theft. At the hearing of the case evidence was given that the boy had formed habits of pilfering, and was becoming incorrigible, and the boy's father admitted that his son was beyond his control. The justices decided that, in the boy's own interests, a period of discipline and training in an industrial school was desirable. I can find no ground for interfering with the sentence of the court; but if the boy behaves well and profits by the training the question of releasing him on licence will be considered long before the end of his term.