Juvenile Offenders (Corporal Punishment)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence – in the House of Commons on 10th September 1942.

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Photo of Mr Alexander Critchley Mr Alexander Critchley , Liverpool Edge Hill

asked the Home Secretary whether, having regard to the serious growth in juvenile crime and the varied character of the offences committed, he will consider extending the powers of lay magistrates so as to enable them to deal effectively with the cases brought before them even to the extent of awarding the birch as a necessary form of punishment?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The juvenile courts at present have power to order the birching of boys under 14, whom they find guilty of offences, but I would remind my hon. Friend that the recent committee on corporal punishment came unanimously to the conclusion that, as a court penalty, corporal punishment is not a suitable or effective method of dealing wiht young offenders. This opinion is supported by the most experienced juvenile courts, and I am not therefore prepared to consider any increase in the powers of the courts to order corporal punishment for juveniles.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Will the right hon. Gentleman communicate those observations regarding corporal punishment to the Secretary of State for India?