HC Deb 26 May 1938 vol 336 c1406W
Sir J. Withers

asked the Home Secretary whether he will state the number of petitions addressed to him by convicts undergoing sentences in Maidstone, Dartmoor, Parkhurst and Chelmsford prisons during the year 1937, and the number in which the convict's petition was granted in its entirety and in part, respectively?

Sir S. Hoare:

During the year 1937 the number of petitions received from convicts undergoing sentences in these prisons was 131, 304, 467 and 54, respectively.

These petitions are of a varied character. Many of them relate to matters which are outside the province of the Home Secretary or contain requests which he has no power to grant. Many of them contain representations (sometimes unaccompanied by any specific request) about the proceedings of the courts, about the nature or length of the sentences, about the prison system, about the conduct of other prisoners, about the conduct of prison officials, about the decisions of the boards of visitors. Each of these petitions is examined with a view both to further inquiries about any point which requires investigation and to any other action which may be appropriate. Sometimes the appropriate action is to give the prisoner some information or explanation, e.g., an explanation as to how the length of his sentence is calculated. It would be impracticable to analyse the miscellaneous contents of these documents in such a way as to produce the information asked for in the last part of the question.