HC Deb 25 June 1974 vol 875 cc444m-n W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many juveniles were in adult prisons at the latest available date; and if she will take steps to release resources to local authorities so that children can be kept out of adult prisons.

Dr. Owen

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department advises me that to ascertain the number of persons of particular ages in prison service establishments in England and Wales at any one time she has to undertake a special analysis of the records and that she will send my hon. Friend the figures shortly. The numbers of those received over a period were given in her reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Magee) on 30th April—[Vol. 872, c. 446–8]; these figures included, but distinguished, those received in junior detention centres, which are separate from those for persons over 17.

I share my hon. Friend's desire to keep these young people out of adult prisons and whenever possible I give priority to this objective in considering local authorities' building proposals. But the number of secure places needed is considerable and, given the limitations on capital investment in the public sector and the competing claims upon it, progress is bound to be slower than the local authorities and the Government would wish.