Detention Centres

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Richard Glyn Mr Richard Glyn , North Dorset 12:00 am, 24th November 1960

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detention centres have now been provided; and what proportion of the courts concerned have been notified by his Department that a detention centre is available for the reception of juvenile delinquents.

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

Pending the completion of the new building programme, there are at present four detention centres: two for offenders aged 14 and under 17, and two for those aged 17 and under 21.

The proportion of courts in England and Wales that have been notified that a detention centre is available to them for the reception of offenders between the ages of 14 and 17 is as follows: 33 courts of assize—including the Central Criminal Court and the Crown Courts at Liverpool and Manchester—out of 68; 85 courts of quarter sessions out of 164; and magistrates' courts in the metropolitan stipendiary court area, in 88 cities and boroughs out of 151, and in 313 petty sessional divisions of counties out of 730.

Photo of Mr Richard Glyn Mr Richard Glyn , North Dorset

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Question that he has answered was put down in the same words ten years ago, and that since then the increase in crimes of violence by young offenders has vastly outstripped the provision of detention centres? Is he further aware that it is now much harder to get a young delinquent into a detention centre than it is to get a normal boy into a public school? Will he bear in mind that many citizens have been attacked and some killed, many women assaulted and some raped? Will he bear in mind also that it is essential that every court should have an adequate deterrent of one kind or another so that the public may be protected against these young thugs?

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

I find myself in entire agreement with what my hon. Friend has said. Eight more centres are at present under construction. As he knows, three will be opened in the early months of next year.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that to have provided only four detention centres since the passing of the Criminal Justice Act in 1948 is extremely slow progress?

Photo of Mr Dennis Vosper Mr Dennis Vosper , Runcorn

I think that from the point of view of penal reform I would agree. There have been other priorities, but now full priority is given to this part of the programme.