§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ordinary prisons, as apart from open prisons, were constructed in the 5-year period ended 31st December, 1960; how many are under construction at the present time and the approximate dates when they will be finished; and how many further prisons are to be constructed in the next 5 years.]
My Lords, one new prison has been completed in the last five years: it is at present in use 848 as a borstal. Five prisons (including one for women), now under construction, are due for completion at various dates between November, 1961, and February, 1963. Six more prisons (including one for women) are planned. Of these, three at least should be completed in the next five years; progress on the remaining three depends on site negotiations now going on. The two women's prisons referred to will release space in existing prisons for use by men. Similarly, other new establishments, not themselves prisons, will release prison accommodation now used for other purposes. Such establishments due for completion in the next five years comprise four borstals (two of these are already under construction) and nine remand centres (one almost complete and one under construction). Detention centres also relieve prisons by providing an alternative to short-term imprisonment. Seven of these are complete, and seven more are under construction.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, in thanking my noble friend for his full and, if I may say so, satisfactory Answer, might I ask whether the Home Secretary would give consideration to this point, which I do not ask should be answered now? Will there be at least informal consultation between the Home Office and that very admirable body, the Prison Officers' Association, in regard to the construction of these new prisons, so that the Home Office may have the views of this Association with regard to the best method of carrying out supervision?
My Lords, I am certain that consultations do in fact take place, but I will certainly put what the noble Earl has said to my right honourable friend.
§ LORD PETHICK-LAWRENCE
My Lords, would the noble Earl kindly inform us, if he can, and, if not, perhaps he would let us know later, at what time in the future, assuming that the prison population remains constant over the next few years, will he be able to say that no prisoners are sleeping more than one in a cell?
My Lords, I am afraid I cannot judge that, but certainly there will be many fewer sleeping more than one in a cell when these building operations have been completed. I am 849 afraid I cannot make a better forecast than that.
LORD PETH ICK-LAWRENCE
My Lords, assuming that the prison population remains constant, surely there must be some time ahead, when some of these prisons are built, when it can be assumed this more desirable situation will be reached.
My Lords, I think it would be better if I looked into the question the noble Lord has asked. I will certainly write to him, or if he would like to put down a Written Question he might do so, in order that your Lordships could then know the answer.
My Lords, can the noble Earl say whether it is the general policy of the Government that at some future unspecified date there should be only one prisoner in a cell?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I remind the noble Earl of the great difficulties of achieving that object? It was announced four years ago, when there were 2,000 prisoners sleeping three in a cell, and now there are 6,000.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords., will the noble Earl say how he ever proposes to reduce the prison population while he allows crime to be glamorised in the homes of the people on television?
I certainly sym-pathise with what the noble Lady has said, but it is rather off the particular Question that my noble friend has asked.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, would it not be a good idea to introduce a modest form of corporal 850 punishment for young offenders and thus empty out the prisons a bit?
§ LORD TEVIOT
My Lords, I notice that the Minister has referred to borstals. As this name has been widely spread all over the country, I wonder whether the Minister would consider whether it would not be a good thing to alter the name. It is a name that sticks to some of the chaps who have been there, and if only a name of a more friendly character could be given, I think it would do some good.
My Lords, I do not know whether my noble friend would care to put forward an alternative name to my right honourable friend. Perhaps such a name might take after his family, or something of that sort.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that, contrary to the views of my noble friend sitting behind him, many old Borstalians are very proud of being Old Borstalians?