Oral Answers to Questions — Borstal Institutions (Films)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1952.

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Photo of Mr William Aitken Mr William Aitken , Bury St Edmunds 12:00 am, 27th March 1952

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why a Borstal boy, aged 18, was taken under escort to see the film "A Street Car Named Desire" at Hull, Yorkshire, on or about 13th March; and if, in view of the sordid and degrading nature of this film, he will investigate the mental and moral qualifications of those charged with the administration of the institution in which this boy was detained.

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

It is usual for selected senior boys in Borstal institutions to be allowed as a privilege to visit a cinema or other place of entertainment from time to time. At Hull the practice is for members of the staff who are visiting the cinema in their off-duty hours to be allowed to take with them two inmates who have qualified for this privilege. The choice of film in this particular case may have been unfortunate, but I do not think the incident calls for any further action on my part.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

A jolly good film.

Photo of Mr William Aitken Mr William Aitken , Bury St Edmunds

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say which official of the institution was responsible for taking this boy to see the film?

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

I should like to make it clear that the boys pay for themselves out of their earnings. The privilege is much valued by those of the special grade, and is a great incentive to raising the standard of work and conduct. I really do not think it is necessary for me to name the official concerned.

Photo of Sir Frank Medlicott Sir Frank Medlicott , Norfolk Central

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities are available for boys at Borstal institutes to see films either of an educational or recreational character.

Photo of Mr David Maxwell Fyfe Mr David Maxwell Fyfe , Liverpool, West Derby

Arrangements vary from one institution to another, but on average there is a programme of educational films about once a week and of recreational films about twice a month.