HC Deb 28 February 1977 vol 927 cc10-1W
Mr. Christopher Price

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to implement Resolution (76)10 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on certain alternative penal measures to imprisonment, with special reference to sections (5), (6) and (7).

Mr. Merlyn Rees

I welcome the opportunity of drawing attention to Resolution (76)10 adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and to the accompanying report "Alternative Penal Measures to Imprisonment". The preparation of the report derived from an initiative taken by the United Kingdom at a Conference of European Ministers of Justice promoted by the Council of Europe at Basle in 1972, and we were glad to play a part in the production of the report itself. Much of the report reflects penal practice, and the objectives of penal policy, in this country. Inevitably, progress in some of the directions suggested in Resolution (76) 10 is limited by the current constraints on resources. The Government and various other agencies in this country are active in making known the case for dealing non-custodially with a wide range of convicted person. Our system affords various opportunities, some of which the report mentions, for associating judges and magistrates with the development and administration of penal policy; and further proposals in this respect may come from the working party on judicial training and information when it reports in due course. The Council of Europe itself gives a wide distribution to publications of this kind, and now that printed copies are available the Home Office is bringing the report and Resolution to the notice of a number of individuals or organisations which may be expected to have an interest in it.