HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc370-1W
Mr. Bishop

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for the development of a range of non-custodial penalties on the lines of the Wootton Report, and including community service, weekend custody, the use of the hostel system, after-care and elements of restitution, in order to reduce the prison population and induce greater prospects of rehabilitation for offenders.

Mr. Maudling

I am anxious to develop powers and facilities that will enable the courts to deal with a greater proportion of offenders outside penal institutions. Arrangements are in hand to step up the rate of recruitment to training for the Probation and After-Care Service. I have set up a working group to study the use of probation resources, and another to consider the provision of accommodation within the community for offenders subject to a court order or under licence from custody. I have accepted in principle a number of the recommendations in the report of the Advisory Council on the Penal System on non-custodial penalties, including the proposal that the courts should be given a specific power to defer sentence. I am considering other recommendations, and have set up a third working group to make a detailed study of the proposal that the courts should be given power to require offenders to carry out work of service to the community in their spare time. I have recently received from the Advisory Council a report on reparation, which I am now studying.