HC Deb 14 December 1945 vol 417 cc882-3W
Mr. Lang

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will now give information with regard to arrangements made for the allocation and treatment of persons committed to Borstal.

Mr. Ede

As I said in reply to my hon. Friend's Question on 29th November, it has been decided that two additional Borstal allocation centres for boys and seven additional training institutions, five for boys and two for girls, will be required. I am glad to say that the Prison Commissioners have obtained, at Latch-mere House, near Kingston, premises suitable for use as one of the allocation centres. It is hoped that a disused prison, which is at present in the possession of the War Office, will become available for use as the other centre. These two centres should between them take some 300 boys, and this accommodation, once the new training institutions are working, should be enough to keep the prisons quite clear of youths sentenced to Borstal detention. In the meantime, by the reopening of Pentonville prison on 1st January and the reallocation of the London prison population, the Prison Commissioners will be able to accommodate another 300 boys at the existing allocation centre at Wormwood Scrubs, which will continue to be used as a third allocation centre for so long as is necessary. As regards training establishments, the Commissioners have arranged to obtain possession of three separate premises, one of them suitable for use as a Borstal institution of a security type, with accommodation for up to 200 boys, and the other two with accommodation between them for some 280 boys. One of these premises will be taken over on or about 1st February and negotiations are in progress with a view to possession of the other two being obtained as soon as possible. Premises suitable for an additional Borstal institution for girls are in view, and it is hoped can be obtained in the near future. 1 must make it clear that, even after the Commissioners have obtained possession of the premises I have mentioned, it will take some time, owing to the necessity for structural alterations, the recruitment of staff and the provision of living accommodation for staff and families, before all these premises can be brought into use. The question of obtaining further suitable premises is being actively pursued. In the meantime arrangements are being made for associating together, as far as practicable, those persons who have to be detained in prisons awaiting removal to Borstal institutions. Every effort is being made to provide educational classes, lectures, and physical training for them and to concentrate them so far as possible, in the prisons which have the best facilities for this purpose.