asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the difficulties, to prison staffs and prisoners alike, arising from the incarceration of convicted prisoners and 18B detainees in the same penal establishments, the two types of prisoner being governed by separate and different disciplinary regulations; and whether he will take steps to end this situation?
asked the Home Secretary whether he can assure the House that prompt disciplinary measures will be taken against any man or woman detained under Regulation 18B who refuses to obey reasonable instructions from the prison authorities, or who endeavours in any way to obstruct the prison employees in the execution of their duties?
Persons detained in prison under Regulation 18B who are guilty of breaches of discipline are liable to punishment as provided by the Prison Rules and may be reported and dealt with as circumstances require in the same way as prisoners. As such persons are detained for custodial purposes, and not by way of punishment, they are allowed certain privileges which are not accorded to ordinary prisoners: and this difference in methods of treatment is liable to cause difficulties to the prison staffs—to whose good work in overcoming these difficulties a tribute of appreciation is due. Most of the persons detained under Regulation 18B have been sent to the Isle of Man. There are, however, a few persons who for various reasons, including the temporary accommodation of persons coming from Isle of Man to attend before the Advisory Committee, are detained in prison. I recognise that there would be advantages from the administrative point of view if all such persons could be accommodated elsewhere than in prison, but I regret that for the present at any rate the difficulties of providing and staffing separate establishments with suitable accommodation are such that this course is impracticable.
Is not the Home Secretary aware that there is one prison which is entirely unoccupied at the moment and which could be used to segregate the 18B prisoners from the ordinary prisoners; and does he not realise that while the prison staff appreciate the tribute he has paid to them, they would much more appreciate being delivered from a situation which, from the disciplinary and other points of view, is almost impossible?
That is remarkable——plus 26 persons temporarily there waiting to attend before the Advisory Committee, etc., and I do not think I ought to be pressed to open a special prison establishment, with all the necessary overhead charges that are involved for this purpose. While I appreciate that there are difficulties for the prison staff, I think they have surmounted them very well, and it is not a bad thing for the prison staff that they should have some variety in the class of cases which they handle, for this develops their ingenuity and adaptability.