HC Deb 13 March 1934 vol 287 cc207-8W

asked the Home Secretary how many candidates appeared before the recent selection board for the prison service to be considered for a post as matron in a Borstal institution; how many of the candidates were serving female officers in the prison service; the number selected for interview by the selection board from outside the service without any knowledge of dealing with inmates; whether, seeing that an outside candidate was selected, he will state why she was selected in preference to a serving officer with years of experience; whether he is aware that there is scarcely any prospect of promotion in the prison service for the female staff; and whether he will give the names of the chairman and other members of the selection board?


Nine candidates appeared before the selection board. Two of these were officers in the prison service. The candidates selected were chosen for the reason which is, and always must be, the predominating consideration, namely, that they appeared to be the best qualified for the duties of the post in question. The suggestion that women prison officers are excluded from prospects of promotion is mistaken. They have certain opportunities of promotion in the women's prisons, and they are also eligible for appointments in the Borstal institutions. At the present time, of the 23 posts for Borstal house-matrons, 10 have been filled by women who were previously prison officers and one by a member of the prison nursing staff; but it would be wrong to confine these appointments in institutions for the training of boys and young men to women whose experience has been of the very different conditions in women's prisons. The responsibility for the appointments rests with the Prison Commissioners, and it would be contrary to recognised practice to mention the names of the members of the selection board who advised the commissioners on this occasion.