Oral Answers to Questions — Detained Aliens, Brixton Prison

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1949.

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Photo of Mr Peter Freeman Mr Peter Freeman , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent) 12:00 am, 3rd November 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the long period for which aliens who have landed in this country without permission are detained at Brixton Prison; and what steps he proposes to take to reduce this period.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

An alien who has entered this country in contravention of the Aliens Order is detained in prison only when there is a risk that he will abscond. The period of detention is no longer than is necessary to make arrangements for the alien's removal, and every effort is made to do this as soon as possible.

Photo of Mr Peter Freeman Mr Peter Freeman , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

Is it not a fact that there is a case in Brixton Prison of a person who has been there since 24th February and another since 14th March? In view of the fact that these persons are not criminals in the ordinary sense, since they have committed no crime except seeking asylum in this country, should they be subject to rigid prison discipline? Cannot my right hon. Friend make some alternative proposition to deal with this matter?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

If my hon. Friend will give me particulars of the two cases he has in mind I will have them examined. The general policy is as I have stated. I am exceedingly anxious that these men should not be imprisoned unless it is absolutely necessary.