§ Mr. Biffen
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for the more extended use of open prisons for selected prisoners, in order to relieve overcrowding in the closed prisons.
§ Mr. Brooke
The number of places in open prisons is being increased, and I have been reviewing the arrangements for selecting prisoners for transfer to an open prison. At present no prisoner convicted of any offence against the person, other than common assault, may be so transferred. I think that it would be reasonable, in the light of experience, to relax this rule to the extent of allowing 127W the transfer of such prisoners if they arc serving sentences of not more than six months and provided that they are found, after careful study of their record and behaviour in prison, to be otherwise suitable for open conditions.