HC Deb 24 November 1920 vol 135 cc472-3W

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the admitted fact that imprisonment is a futile and barbarous method of correcting a child, and that an increased number of boys between fourteen and sixteen were sent to prison either under sentence or on remand, or to await removal to other institutions, during the year ended 31st March, 1920, he will take steps to put an end to the imprisonment of boys and girls between fourteen and sixteen?


I would remind my right hon. Friend that Sections 97 and 102 of the Children Act prohibit a young person between 14 and 16 being sent to prison unless the Court certifies that he is of so unruly a character that he cannot be detained in a place of detention, or that he is of so depraved a character that he is not a fit person to be so detained. During the year ended the 31st March last, 85 boys between the ages of 14 and 16 were received into prison, but only 17 of these were sentenced to a term of imprisonment. The remainder were received into prison on remand, and were subsequently sent to reformatory schools, placed on probation, or otherwise disposed of. In every case a certificate under Section 97 or Section 102 of the Children Act was given by the Court. In the circumstances, I am unable to take any action in the matter.