HC Deb 11 December 1922 vol 159 c2405W
Brigadier-General SPEARS

asked the Home Secretary whether it is the intention of the Government to take the necessary steps to give effect to the recommendation of the Prison Commissioners in their Report for 1921–22, that there should be a bolder use of probation and allowance of time to pay fines, especially in view of the fact that during the year 1921 out of 15,674 persons imprisoned in default of paying fines 13,472 were not allowed time in which to pay; that a large percentage of these paid their fines after committal to prison; and that every person imprisoned costs £l 14s. 4¾d. per week?


The Home Office has from time to time urged on justices the desirability of discharging prisoners on probation and allowing ample time for the payment of fines whenever the interests of justice allow. This is of course a matter for the discretion of the magistrates dealing with the individual cases, but I have no reason to suppose that the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction are not, speaking generally, anxious to show leniency when circumstances permit. It is always to be remembered that these courts have to deal with over half-a-million offenders in the year, of whom considerably less than 10 per cent, are sent to prison.

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