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Committal to Borstal (Prison Detention)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1957.

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Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East 12:00 am, 6th June 1957

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons committed to Borstal are in prison awaiting admission to a Borstal Allocation Centre; and how many of these have been in prison for more than one month.

Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many youths sentenced to corrective or Borstal training are detained in Her Majesty's prisons; how many have been in the prisons for periods of four weeks or more, and, in view of the fact that their detention in prisons is contrary to the courts sentences, when it will be possible to have the youths removed to training as sentenced.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

On 31st May there were in prison 164 boys sentenced to Borstal training available for transfer to reception centres, of whom 54 had been in prison for four weeks or more. The abnormal delay is due to the sharp increase in recent months of committals to Borstal, which has caused a shortage of accommodation in the training institutions.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

Whilst thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply and recognising the pressure on accommodation and the efforts to segregate these boys made by the prison authorities, especially in the prison which I visited, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend could assure the House that every effort will be made to keep these young Borstal boys isolated so far as practicable from the adult prisoners? Will he also undertake to consider arranging standby facilities for any similar time of pressure?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The Prison Commissioners have in mind the latter point raised by my hon. Friend.

Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the parents of these boys are very distressed indeed about the fact that they are in ordinary prisons when they have not been sentenced to imprisonment? Is he aware that this action in retaining these boys in prisons makes the governor of the prison liable to action for wrongful detention of the boys concerned? When will the right hon. Gentleman be able to make arrangements to ensure that the sentences of the court are properly carried out?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I have explained that this is because there has been an increase in committals. We have powers under Section 46 of the Prisons Act and, therefore, I do not think that anything illegal is being done. I regret this detention of boys, if they are being detained, but I assure the hon. Lady that we shall get this right as soon as we can.