HC Deb 03 August 1961 vol 645 cc210-2W
50. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total value of work done for Government Departments by prisoners detained in Her Majesty's prisons.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

These figures are given in the Commissioners' Annual Reports. In 1959, £588,385 was received for goods supplied, and the value of labour supplied without charge was estimated at £72,841. In addition, about £166,000 worth of work was done for other customers, and goods to the value of about £500,000 were supplied for use in prisons.

51. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the maximum income per week that may be earned by a prisoner in Her Majesty's prisons.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

The present maximum is 6s. excluding allowances paid to certain long-term prisoners. The Advisory Council on the Employment of Prisoners in their First Report, which will be published shortly, have recommended that prisoners should be given an opportunity to earn higher rates by hard work. This recommendation has been accepted by my right hon. Friend and by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of the revised rates of payment which will be brought into force shortly.

Prisoners' Earnings

Prisoners' earnings at present range from a basic rate of 2s. 6d. a week (recently increased from 2s. 3d.) to a maximum of 6s., excluding certain additional allowances to preventive detainees and long-term prisoners. Rates above the basic rate, which are paid only to prisoners who have served 17 weeks or more, may be awarded at the discretion of the Governor, subject to the proviso that the average earnings of each prison as a whole may not exceed 3s. 6d. a head in local prisons and 4s. in regional and central prisons. Similar arrangements apply in Scotland, except that for the first 17 weeks payment is related to effort but kept to an average of 2s. 6d.

The following changes are to be introduced forthwith. They are founded on the Advisory Council's recommendations that earnings should be related as closely as possible to output, and that the gap between the prisoner who performs only the basic task and the wholly exceptional worker should be considerably widened.

  1. (1) Wherever the work can be measured, earnings will be on a piece-work basis related to the output of the individual or the group, as may be most appropriate The rates will he designed to produce earnings of 3s. a week for the prisoner who performs only the basic task, about 5s. for the average prisoner working reasonably well, and about 8s. or more for a considerable number who may be expected to work better than this.
  2. (2) Work which cannot be measured will be paid at flat rates within the discretion of the Governor, from a basic rate of 3s. up to a maximum which will vary, according to the type of work, from 4s. 3d. to 7s. 9d.

There will be no "prison average", but, in order to secure some uniformity of standards, an average will be fixed for each shop or party. These averages will range, according to the type of work, from 3s. 9d. to 5s. 9d. in local prisons, and will be 1s. higher in central and regional prisons. They will enable a considerable number of prisoners to be awarded rates above the basic if their effort justifies it.

Larceny from commercial vehicles
1960 January—May, 1961
Larceny Cases Property Value Convictions Cases Property Value Convictions
From vehicles— £ £
in street 3,800 562,743 486 1,843 339,960 198
on private premises 1,231 73,172 475 17,852
5,031 635,915 486 2,318 357,812 198

Prison sentences
In certain cases the offender may be charged with receiving or the offence of larceny may be taken into consideration on conviction of a more serious offence. The figures are as follows:—
Sentenced for 1960 January—May, 1961
Number of sentences Average (months) Number of sentences Average (months)
Simple larceny 66 5.3 26 5.9
Receiving 11 13.0 11 17.2
Taken into consideration with more serious offence 17 24.7 7 17.6
Total—all sentences 94 9.7 44 10.6

(3) Again, if their work justifies it, prisoners in the first 17 weeks of their sentence will no longer be restricted to the basic rate.