HC Deb 05 March 1919 vol 113 cc435-6W

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the present governor of Wandsworth Prison was commandant of Chelmsford Detention Barracks; that on 20th February, while about fifty conscientious objectors and twelve other prisoners were lined up to proceed to the shops, the governor declared that he would not have the conscientious objectors mixed up with respectable men; that one man who protested against this statement was put in irons in the strong room, although his prison record was absolutely clean; and whether he will inquire into this matter to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future and to determine whether this official should continue to be governor of one of His Majesty's prisons?


The officer referred to has long experience in the civil prison service. He was lent temporarily to the War Office during the War, and had charge of Chelmsford Detention Barracks. He was recently selected to take charge of Wandsworth Civil Prison. A section of conscientious objector prisoners, had been persistently guilty of noisy and disorderly behaviour, and the governor said audibly to the chief warder that he would not have well-behaved prisoners disturbed by these men, and ordered them to the cells. No prisoner was placed in irons or in a so-called "strong room." One prisoner who behaved insolently was placed in an ordinary cell apart from the other conscientious objectors. I have confidence in the manner in which the governor discharged a difficult and unpleasant duty, and I have no reason to think the measures he took were stronger than the circumstances required.