§ Mrs. Lena Jeger
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy regarding the imprisonment of mothers of young children; what arrangements are made to avoid splitting up families of convicted mothers; and what study he has made of the report on "Brief Separations" prepared by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, a copy of which is being sent to him.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
It is for the courts to decide whether it is right to imprison a mother with young children. They would obviously wish to weigh the consequences of a custodial sentence very carefully when dealing with this class of offender. Under the Criminal Justice Act they will have power to suspend some sentences of imprisonment and will be under an obligation to do so in certain circumstances.
Local authorities have power to assist with arrangements for the children and do their best to avoid splitting families.
"Brief Separations" is being studied in my Department.