§ 4.34 p.m.
§ Further considered on Report (according to Order).
§ Clause 15:
§ Temporary removal from approved school
§ 15.—(1) If on information on oath laid by or on behalf of the managers of an approved school it appears to a justice of the peace on whom jurisdiction is hereinafter conferred that any person not less than fifteen years of age who is detained in the school is so seriously unruly or subversive that it is necessary for maintaining the discipline of the school that he should forthwith be removed therefrom pending inquiry as to the best means of dealing with him, the justice may issue a warrant directing him to be removed by a constable from the school to another approved school or to a remand centre or remand home, and there detained for a period of twenty-eight days unless sooner dealt with according to law.
§ LORD CHORLEY moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "not less than fifteen years of age". The noble Lord said: I am moving this Amendment rather more in a spirit of exploration than with the intention of forcing it to a Division, at any rate as at present advised. I had it down at the Committee stage when, with one or two other Amendments of a somewhat similar character, it was found convenient to withdraw it. Therefore, I felt it might be useful to put it down again. As your Lordships are aware, Clause 15 of the Bill makes provision for the temporary removal from approved schools of boys whose subversive or unruly behaviour has made it impossible for the manager to control them, whether to another approved school, or a remand centre or remand home, or on lines of that sort.
§ But this is restricted to boys who are not less than 15 years of age, and it is because of that that I am a little worried and felt that I should like to know why the Government feel that this provision should be restricted in this way. From time to time in quarter sessions I have myself had before me boys under 15 who obviously were having an exceedingly bad effect on the approved school in which they had been placed—from which they eventually had, in fact, absconded—and it seemed to me obvious from that experience (I agree it is a somewhat limited one) that 135 there may from time to time be in approved schools boys beneath the age of fifteen who might very well be removed to some other place where their bad influence on the other boys would not be felt.
§ The boys I have had before me have invariably been boys who have absconded, and the one to whom I referred in my speech on the Second Reading of the Bill was a particularly bad case of a boy under 15 who had persuaded another boy to go off with him—a boy of over 14, but there was no question at all that the one I had before me was the ringleader, much the worse of the two. They had not been out very long before they had broken into a number of homes where they did a great deal of wanton damage—amounting to something like £100 in one of these homes alone—and the manager of the approved school from which they had absconded said. "I am just not going to have them back, certainly not this ringleader, because he has an extraordinarily bad influence on my school."
§ I say that the manager ought to have been given the right, which is going to be conferred by this clause, of making an information on oath to have a boy of this kind removed, and it would be in my view most unfortunate if, because the boy happened to be under 15, this procedure would not be open to him. This business of boys absconding from approved schools is a very serious one. We have heard a great deal about it from time to time in relation to borstal, but there are, of course, security borstals from which it is at any rate made much more difficult for lads to abscond. I am not myself aware—maybe it is just a lack of knowledge on my part—that there are any similar arrangements in regard to these approved schools.
§ The approved school, of course, is a local authority affair, although not entirely because there are other sorts of approved schools. Therefore, the Government are not involved in the way they are with borstal institutions. Yet, as a matter of common sense, I think most people would agree there ought to be security arrangements, at any rate at some of the approved schools, so that boys are not able to get away and go up and down the countryside destroying people's 136 homes in the way I have tried to describe. Particularly, I should like to know what arrangements the Home Office are making, or have made, and what their proposals are for dealing with the situation, which, I hope the noble Lords speaking for the Government will take from me, is really quite a serious one. For this purpose I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
Page 10, line 15, leave out ("not less than fifteen years of age").—(Lord Chorley.)
§ 4.39 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, the clause as drafted provides a procedure whereby a constable may on a certain procedure being adopted remove a boy not less than 15 years of age from an approved school. It was based on a recommendation by Mr. Durand in paragraphs 159 and 160 of his Report on the particular disturbances at the Carlton School. Mr. Durand himself did not restrict his proposal to any particular age group. What he clearly had in mind were conditions at approved schools for senior boys and the need for what he called "an adequate sanction for the type of senior boy whose conduct disrupts the balance and discipline of an approved school." The Ingleby Committee considered that the power of removal might be needed for dealing with girls as well as boys, but said nothing to imply that it would be needed for younger boys than Mr. Durand had in mind. My right honourable friend considers it unnecessary for the clause to apply to boys and girls under the age of fifteen. They can be dealt with adequately under existing powers, and for this reason I would advise the House that there is no point in extending the scope of the clause further than experience has shown to be necessary.
The noble Lord opposite gave my noble friend, Lord Bathurst, notice that he was going to raise under this Amendment the question of absconding, which is a slightly different one from that with which the clause is designed to deal. My right honourable friend, naturally enough, fully shares the concern expressed by the noble and learned Lord with the problem which is presented by a minority of difficult boys who persistently abscond from approved schools. The provisions of the Bill will enable 137 such boys aged 15 or over, to be brought before the court with a view to transfer to borstal, either under Clause 15 of the Bill or under Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, as amended by this Bill. But some persistent absconders are, as the noble Lord pointed out, under 15. Approved schools are traditionally open institutions, and in general there are no physical restraints on movement beyond those which are found in most boarding schools. To prevent absconding, reliance is placed mainly on supervision by the staff and the creation of a tone in the school unfavourable to absconding. But, of course, it is clear that in the present situation some increase in the security of approved schools is required, and my right honourable friend thinks that this can be clone without altering the general character of the system.
In order to deal with boys under fifteen who persistently abscond or are otherwise difficult, as well as with similarly troublesome boys of 15 or over, for whom the approved school system can, it is thought, still usefully provide, my right honourable friend is seeking to arrange for the establishment of closed units at certain existing boys' approved schools. This is in accordance with the recommendations of the Ingleby Report. The managers of two of the classified schools—the Royal Philanthropic Society's School at Redhill, and the Kingswood School, near Bristol—have agreed to the setting up of such units, and detailed plans are being drawn up. In addition, my right honourable friend is about to send managers of boys' schools advice about the provision of secure rooms for the temporary segregation of boys who suddenly become difficult to handle in what appears to be only a transient phase of conduct, or for holding temporarily a boy thought likely to abscond until it can be decided what should be done with him. These rooms, although primarily for boys of fifteen or over, would also be available, if the managers so decided, for younger boys. With that explanation, I would ask whether the noble and learned Lord would agree to withdraw the Amendment.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Viscount for the careful reply which he has made. I am not altogether satisfied 138 with regard to what he said about satisfactory arrangements already existing for dealing with boys under 15, because he did not explain what they were. If they are satisfactory, I wonder why they have not applied in the various cases which have come to my notice in practice. So far as my main point is concerned, about the absconders, I am glad to hear of the arrangements which are being made by the Home Office, and it looks as if they will provide a solution for this problem, which is a very real one. In all the circumstances, I do not propose to press the Amendment, and I would beg leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (3) to leave out "forty-eight" and insert "twenty-four". The noble Lord said: My Lords, by this Amendment we propose to reduce from 48 hours to 24 hours the maximum period that a boy who is to be removed from one approved school to another may be detained in a police station. The noble and learned Viscount will recall that when we discussed this Amendment in Committee he shared our anxiety that a boy should not be kept in a police station longer than was absolutely necessary. But he was particularly concerned that the Amendment might create a difficulty if it happened that a place was not readily available for a boy who had to be removed, perhaps at short notice, from one approved school to another. He promised to see if there was some way of meeting our point so that 24 hours might be the normal maximum, though with power to apply, in exceptional circumstances, for an extension.
§ Our concern, quite apart from the natural feeling that a boy should not be kept in a police station for as long as 48 hours, is that this 48-hour margin may well be exploited by inefficient managers, because it will be encouragement to them to have unruly boys carted off to police cells. I would remind your Lordships that under existing regulations approved schools can, where necessary, call in the police or the aid of mental hospitals, and this clause in fact encourages them to call them in in circumstances which might well be unwarranted. Therefore we feel it is surely wise to limit this power so far as possible.139
§ The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor quite rightly referred to the improvements in some police stations in recent years, but it is equally true that many police stations are utterly unsuitable for detaining anyone, let alone young boys, for even as long as 24 hours; and certainly they are the last place to keep an obstreperous and disturbed boy for any length of time. According to my information, the police themselves agree with this, as, indeed, does everyone who has any experience of "tough" boys from approved schools. For this reason, I hope that the noble and learned Viscount, after the reflection he has given to the matter, will accept the Amendment, or, as was foreshadowed when we discussed this matter before, suggest his own solution for achieving our objective or something near to it. I beg to move.
Page 10, line 38, leave out ("forty-eight") and insert ("twenty-four").—(Lord Stonham.)
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, may I first introduce the context in which this Amendment is moved? The boy to whom Clause 15 is applied, having been removed from the school from which he is to go, goes to a police station until they can make other arrangements for him. When we debated the same Amendment on the Committee stage my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack said that the reason for enabling a person who is removed under subsection (1) of the clause to be taken first to a police station is that in the kind of emergency in which the clause is likely to be invoked it might well be necessary to remove an unruly or subversive pupil from a school before there was time to find a vacancy for him in another institution. That is really the point, because in the interval until that time he would need to be kept in secure custody. Everyone concerned, if I may say so without appearing to be ill-natured, would be naturally anxious to get rid of him as quickly as possible, to get him sent on to the other institution; and in the ordinary way 24 hours would no doubt give time enough for this to happen. Nevertheless, there is no certainty that it will always be long enough to get him a vacancy. It might well be the case that the emergency 140 arose at a week-end. That, in fact, is what happened in the Carlton case. We therefore think it is necessary to allow more than 24 hours for the process, and 48 hours is the figure we have arrived at.
My noble and learned friend undertook to consider whether it would be possible to provide for a first period of 24 hours' detention, with provision for an extension on an application to a justice for a further 24 hours in case of need. That would hardly be justified for such a short extension, and the grounds of the application, namely, the availability of an alternative vacancy, would hardly be of a kind that it would be easy for a justice to assess. Therefore, on balance, we feel that we should stick to the clause as drafted.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am sorry that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House has had to take that view. There is really no substance at all in the objection that he raised with regard to week-ends because approved schools to which an obstreperous boy would have to be removed are not closed at weekends; so that point really does not arise. Of course, the only point at issue is the one which, as I myself indicated, was discussed earlier: whether it would be possible to have a normal period of 24 hours and then apply for an extension, which he has now told us the Government do not think is possible. In my own view, and I think in the view of everyone who has considered this matter, it is wholly undesirable that the boy might be kept there for as long as 48 hours. In my view it is entirely unnecessary. However, I believe that it will be the wish of everyone to get the boy moved as quickly as possible, and I only hope that the Government will achieve administratively what I should like to see them do by legislation. I do not wish to detain your Lordships any longer on this particular Amendment and, with your Lordships' permission, I ask leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 19:
§ Constitution of managers
§ 19.—(1) The Secretary of State may by order make provision for regulating the constitution and proceedings of the managers of any approved school other than a school provided by a local authority or by a joint 141 committee representing two or more local authorities; and any such order shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any trust deed relating to the school.
§ 4.53 p.m.
LORD STONHAM moved, in subsection (1), to leave out
other than a school provided by a local authority or by a joint committee representing two or more local authorities".
The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment seeks to ensure that the provisions which the Bill makes in respect of voluntary approved schools should apply also to schools provided by a local authority or by a joint committee representing two or more local authorities. The Amendment seeks to give power to the Home Secretary when necessary to make regulation for, and to appoint additional managers for, schools run by local authorities.
§ When the Amendment was moved in Committee two speeches were made against it. They only reiterated two local authority objections which I myself voiced in moving the Amendment. The first of the two local authority objections was that it might lead to interference with local authorities in running their schools, and might even mean that a school could be taken over by the Home Secretary. That objection entirely makes the case for the Amendment, since no Home Secretary would interfere unless it was absolutely necessary in the interests of the boys or girls in the school—that is, if the school was badly run. If it is argued that a local authority school cannot possibly be badly run, then the powers asked for in this Amendment would never be used. But the fact is that if they are there, they will certainly help.
§ The other argument advanced was that the local authorities are democratically elected bodies and, as such, are answerable to the public for their errors—in other words, they can be thrown out. That is small comfort when we are thinking of boys and girls in approved schools, because in any case the process is an extremely lengthy one, and in some areas representation on the governing body of the approved schools is confined virtually to one political Party, and it therefore prevents the co-option of non-politicians who may have a keen interest in, and knowledge of, this particular class of work. My views, supported as they were 142 by the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, by the noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, and by my noble friend Lord Silkin, apparently had some effect on the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, because he promised to ask the Home Secretary to look at the matter. I hope that he is now in a position to tell us that his right honourable friend is prepared to brave what I regard as the ill-founded and unnecessary displeasure of the Association of Municipal Corporations and, in the interests of better and more uniform management of approved schools, to accept the Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 13, line 46, leave out ("other than a school provided by a local authority or by a joint committee representing two or more local authorities").—(Lord Stonham.)
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (EARL BATHURST)
My Lords, at first glance anybody, especially those who have dealings with the voluntary approved schools, might have some considerable sympathy with the noble Lord and his Amendment. But I hope to show your Lordships that this Amendment is not necessary, and I shall ask the noble Lord to withdraw it. I want to assure him (though I know that he knows this well) that if, in fact, there is inefficiency in a local authority school or in a voluntary school, if there is anything that has gone wrong, my right honourable friend has the right of inspection and Clause 18 will give him power to give directions to both kinds of approved schools. As I explained to the noble Lord, the ultimate sanction, which is not pleaded, is of course the withdrawal of the certificate of approval which means, of course, the withdrawal of the essential Government grant.
The noble Lord's Amendment deals with the constitution of local authority schools and the appointment of managers to those schools. The constitutions and the method by which managers of voluntary schools are appointed, as noble Lords know very well, vary greatly from school to school. The object of Clause 19 is to get some sort of unification with regard to the constitutions of the voluntary school. That is why these powers are being taken. My right honourable friend is seeking for voluntary 143 schools similar powers to those which already exist within the local authority schools; and, as I explained to the noble Lord, the constitution and the appointment of managers of local authority schools are covered by various measures, of which Section 107 (1) of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933 is one. When joint committees and sub-committees are responsible for local authority schools they are covered by Section 39 of the 1933 Act.
So, my Lords, the managers, their methods of meeting, how they meet, the sort of decisions they make and the records they keep, and so forth, are in fact controlled and covered by these Statutes. I hope that I have made it clear to the noble Lord that in fact his Amendment would not be necessary to cover these local authority schools, although we require provisions to unify the types of constitutions and the methods by which managers can handle their affairs in the voluntary schools.
I took special trouble, having heard what the noble Earl, Lord Iddlesleigh, said, and what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and the noble Earl, Lord Longford, to ask how this will affect schools of particular religious bodies. I must say that I can only pay great credit to those religious bodies, of all denominations, who run approved schools. They certainly carry out a very fine job indeed. I had the pleasure of meeting some of both the masters and managers only a little while ago. I give this assurance to those noble Lords: that should anything have to be done with regard to schools of this particular type, every consideration and sympathy with regard to their religious aspect will most certainly be accorded. I hope that that will satisfy those noble Lords and that, in the light of the assurances I have given to Lord Stonham with regard to the 1933 Act and local authority schools, he may see fit to withdraw his Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Earl for what he has said. I accept his assurances.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, for making clear to me now what (no doubt it was my fault) he did 144 not make clear on the Committee stage. In effect, it means that the powers which this Amendment seeks to give to the Home Secretary under this Bill he already possesses under existing legislation.
My Lords, I do not know about my right honourable friend having that power, but it is there under the Children and Young Persons Act. It would be wrong to say that my right honourable friend has that power.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, shall we say "the powers-that-be"? Perhaps there will be other personnel for the powers-that-be later on. But on that understanding I ask leave of your Lordships to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 20 [Supervision of certain prisoners after release]:
§ 5.3 p.m.
LORD STONHAM moved to add to the clause:
() The foregoing provisions of this section shall not become operative until the Secretary of State has appointed a Director of After-Care, who shall have the status of a Prison Commissioner, and shall be responsible for co-ordinating official after-care work, both statutory and voluntary, and who shall have under his control a sufficient number of after-care officers for work outside prisons, and a sufficient number of prison welfare officers.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, yesterday I gave the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack an indication when I moved an Amendment that we regarded it as of major importance, and I do so again with this Amendment, as my noble friends and I feel that this question of after-care is perhaps the most neglected and yet one of the most important questions in our penal system. The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor has given an assurance already at an earlier stage of the Bill that the Government will not implement the provisions of this clause until the probation service has been sufficiently strengthened to enable it to cope satisfactorily with the extra burden of work. We feel, however, that urgent steps must be taken if the service is to deal adequately with the very heavy burden it is already carrying.
§ The Morison Committee has now been sitting for two years, and this delay has brought strong pressure from probation 145 officers for the submission of a further salary claim. Although it is felt by some that this would be unwise, it will not be possible to resist the pressure unless there is some indication that the Committee will issue an Interim Report on the probation service or, alternatively, an indication that when it does report it may make recommendations about retrospection of any salary scales it proposes. I hope, therefore, that either to-day or on Third Reading the Lord Chancellor will be able to tell us something about the prospects.
§ This Amendment goes much further than asking for a simple assurance, because it requires that the proposals for extended after-care in the Bill shall not be implemented until a Director of After-Care is in post with an adequate trained staff of welfare officers inside prisons and after-care officers outside. We regard this as imperative because—and I say this in all seriousness—for all practical purposes after-care just does not exist. On May 18, in the Committee stage, I stated the case for an improved after-care service on general grounds, and I described the present arrangements as ramshackle, under-financed, haphazard, short-term, insufficiently explained, unco-ordinated, intolerable on human grounds and ridiculous on financial grounds. My Lords, that is how it appeared to me.
I now want to demonstrate how it appears to ex-prisoners. I regard this "worm's eye view" as important, because it proves beyond doubt that in the Welfare State there is no helping hand for the ex-prisoner. On the contrary, every hand, particularly every official hand, is against him. I base my case on the very large number of letters I have received during the last two weeks, more than I have received on any subject for a good many years, and from which I will quote just three extracts. The first is from a woman. It was written from an hotel in the West Central district last week. It says:
I myself have just served six months in Holloway, and prior to my release I didn't see a board. No one seemed to care very much or appeared in the least bit interested. As I had £3 9s. 6d. of my own money, this was deemed sufficient to start life on. Because of my trial, etc., last November I lost my home, and many of my possessions were sold to settle debts. Thanks to a journalist friend who arranged this accommodation"—
that is the hotel—
I am here until Saturday. Otherwise I would have had literally nowhere to go. Again through the kindness of another friend, I leave for Deal to-morrow to find temporary accommodation. I am considered intelligent and capable and yet I don't know where to begin to make a fresh start. I am an ex-social worker and I have yet to find a job, and am apprehensive as I shall have to state where I have been the last six months.
During my sojourn in Holloway I saw many women come back. I can well understand why. They were alone and defeated the minute they stepped through the gates. If the problem is under consideration I sincerely hope that it will be done rapidly and thus stop this senseless demoralisation. It would also save the Government and courts a great deal of … money.
The second quotation that I want to make is from a letter from a young man who even now is only 24. It was written last Monday from Leicester Prison. He says:
I was released from Wakefield Prison in October, 1959, after being detained for three years. I had no money, nowhere to live and no clothes, except what I was wearing … When leaving the prison I was given a train warrant to London, a letter for the National Assistance Board and 2s. 9d.
Arriving at London I went straight to the N.A.B. and produced the letter to confirm I had just been released from prison. They kept me waiting for six hours before finally telling me that … the only thing they could do for me was to give me one week's voucher for the Rowton House. I refused it. I am not a tramp, a dosser, a meth drinker, a pimp, or a general layabout, but a young man of 24 … who challenged the law, did not succeed, took the punishment, and was released with every intention of not crossing the path of the law again. If I had been given an opportunity to make good, I would not have abused it. … I have nearly finished my sentence of two-and-a-half years now.
That is, his second sentence.
Although it is understanctable that I shall be glad to get out, I am not really looking forward to it, as I fear a repeat performance of the last time. If it is the case, I shall be released to be arrested again, as I am in exactly the same position. No money, no clothes, nowhere to live.
The Home Secretary, Mr. Butler, is alarmed with the increase of crime, M.P.'s and different societies never stop debating the point. Everybody is talking about it, but nobody is doing anything. Hasn't someone got the initiative to see that the crime-wave could be cut by giving ex-prisoners a fair chance to rehabilitate …?
Sir Geoffrey Hutchinson, the Chairman of the National Assistance Board, which appears to be the only official body which is doing anything at all for prisoners, has been good enough to check on this
man's story. It must be a most remarkable organisation, because, although that is nearly two years ago, within ten days he was able to give me all the details of this young man's case, including many that the young man had not given himself. Sir Geoffrey confirms the story, except that he tells me that when this man arrived at the National Assistance Board he had £1 left out of the £3 of his own money which was in his possession when he left prison. But the damnable thing is that, according to Sir Geoffrey, when the man came to the Board's offices his form had already been stamped by the Ministry of Labour to the effect that a claim for benefit was not established until he had established residence. My Lords, how is a man with an unstamped card going to get a job, and how can he live if he has no home and cannot benefit until he has got a home? This is not my imagination: this is what Sir Geoffrey says. I am quoting from his letter:
No doubt our officer thought it hardly necessary to give him cash as well as a voucher when he still had £1 in hand, and I cannot say that it seems to me unreasonable of the officer to have deferred any cash payment in the circumstances.
My Lords, listen to these next two paragraphs:
If a man who has just come out of prison can give an address where he can get lodgings our officer will put him in a position to pay the landlady's charge and to carry on for a few days until the usual visit can be made. If, however, he has nowhere to stay at all, you will appreciate that our officers can do no more than suggest a place where he may find a bed; in some areas this may have to be a lodging house. On the other hand, if the lodging house is not really suitable for the particular individual concerned, our officers are now under instructions to help the man to move into better accommodation as soon as it can be found. In view of the shortage of suitable lodgings for ex-prisoners in some areas, I am doubtful whether we can improve on these arrangements at present.
I understand that Mr. …
I will not mention his name—
is not due for release from Leicester Prison until early next year, but we will certainly do all we can to help him to re-establish himself when the time comes".
My Lords, that is very kind, but will it be in any way different unless this Amendment is accepted? And does it need the intervention of a Peer and of the Chairman of the National Assistance Board to see that a man coming out of
prison like that gets the barest, basic necessities of shelter and food? There is not one of these cases that I am quoting that I have not checked on.
The last letter I wish to quote will take a little longer, but it is a story that must be told because it involves four Govenment Departments and the National Association of Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies, and it conclusively proves my contention that not one of them helps a man. Most of them do all they can to harm him—I am saying this responsibly—and to ensure that he goes back to prison as quickly as possible. This is the letter:
You have spoken of the farce of discharging people from prison with employment cards that have no stamps, but when I was discharged from Her Majesty's Prison, Norwich, on the 22nd February of this year I had no employment cards. When I pointed out that fact I was told that I had only to make application to the National Insurance Office to get a set of cards or at least to get a temporary card. I went to London and on arrival I went to the N.I. Office. I filled in a form and waited for a card of some description. I was told that no card would be issued until such times as they were satisfied as to my identity.
This is the first Government Department, my Lords.
I produced my discharged papers, etc., and asked if they were proof enough. But no, they were not satisfied. I then asked if it were possible to have a letter or document to certify that I had made such an application so that I could show it to any prospective employer in order to get work. Believe it or not, they even refused that simple request. … I then went to the National Assistance people who gave me 12s. until such times as I got an address to live at. I have no animosity against these people. They tried to be helpful, I think, and advised me to go to Rowton House, Camden Town, for a night's lodging. …
This is the Rowton House where Christie, the murderer, lived for some days until he was arrested.
At Rowton House the desk clerk pointed out that a casual applicant must wait till 7.30 p.m. So I waited until 7.30. I was second in a large queue. When I stepped forward the clerk asked my name and I gave it to him. Then he asked for some document as proof of my identity.
You obviously need influence to get into these places!
I explained my position and produced my discharge papers. These were not accepted I asked if it would be enough for the police to vouch for me. 'Yes, that would do' was the answer. I walked to Albany Street police station and once again explained my predicament. The officer I saw was most helpful and
'phoned Rowton, House to substantiate my story. The people at Rowton House told the police they would give me lodgings. As I came away from the station I felt my trouble was over. But when I got back to Rowton House I was calmly told that all beds were booked and that I was too late. Well, Sir, you can guess what I felt like. The time was now about 10 p.m. In desperation I 'phoned various hostels and lodging places. Nearly all were full up and the others would only book you far a week.
This is a man's first night out of prison.
At about 12.30 a.m. on the next day, after making a futile attempt to obtain lodgings in Middlesex Street, I was ordered by a policeman to go to the Institution at Gordon Road, Peckham. I was absolutely fed up but I went. I got a bed of sorts there. For the next two or three days I went round trying to get a job without cards.
He had not got an insurance card or an employment card.
It was futile. In the end, after resorting to subterfuge, I was given a further couple of pounds by the Assistance people. I decided to go to Birmingham. I hitch-hiked it, and in the process was detained for questioning by the Northampton Police. No documents—a suspicious person. I went to all kinds of people for advice—probation officers, the Discharged Prisoners people, in fact nearly all people you would think would help. I got plenty of verbal advice, but when it came to rock bottom, it was useless. In the end, after two visits to the Birmingham insurance people they very reluctantly gave me a document to certify that I had made application for employment cards. I am not sure, but I believe this was on the ninth day after I was discharged. With this document I now had to find a job I won't bore you with irrelevant details, but in the end I came to my present address. I went to my local labour exchange and explained my position. The manager was polite enough but before he would offer me work I would have to sign a document giving him the power to inform any prospective employer of my background".—
That is the second charitably disposed Government Department! The letter goes on:
I was in no position to argue. Having signed the document, and it is legal, I was finally found employment as a labourer in a cement factory. This, sir, was fourteen days after my discharge. Having obtained the job, I wrote to the D.P.A."—
that is, the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society—
asking for some working clothes. I wrote three times, and on each occasion was told that the letter would be 'passed on'. Finally, on the 18th of this month"—
that is May, three months after he was discharged from prison—
I got a letter answering my question. I am now in possession of a letter from the D.P.A. asking the W.V.S. to give me aid,
Oh! —and the master touch: it is for the Birmingham W.V.S., and that's fourteen or fifteen miles away. I give in. What can you do with such people? I think that what I have said should interest you. I am trying honestly to leave behind me all that life. I have served four major sentences of three years and over, so I can speak with some authority, I am now working in a steelworks as a weighbridge clerk, and to get it I forgot all about rules, regulations and laws. All I have gone through merely confirms my opinion of years: never, never, tell the truth about coming out of prison.
One more thing. To-day, over three months after coming out, I believe that my present employers still have not got any employment cards for me. I can't say for certain because I do not want to make embarrassing enquiries. Well, that is my story. If you require any proofs, I will gladly send names, letters, etc.
So, my Lords, I asked him for the proofs, and I also wrote to the Home Secretary, to the Minister of National Insurance, to the Minister of Labour, and to Sir Geoffrey Hutchinson, to check up on their parts in this unhappy story. I have not disclosed this man's name and address, because I do not want him to lose his job. Only Sir Geoffrey has so far replied, and his organisation is so remarkable that, even without the name, they have been able roughly to confirm the facts relating to his Department. Here in my hand are the documents confirming his treatment at the hands of the National Association of Discharged Prisoners Aid Societies. First, a letter dated March 9, printed with the signature of the General Secretary. It says:
I write to acknowledge with thanks your recent letter, and send herewith the usual documents for you to return in due course.
and then at the bottom, in writing:
P.S. I have passed your letter on to Mr. Spurling.
The next letter is dated April 14, the same printed letter, the same words. There is a P.S.:
Have passed your letter on to Mr. Spurling.
The next letter is dated May 15, the same words, but at the bottom a note of urgency creeps in:
P.S. Will leave a reminder message for Mr. Spurling.
Finally, on May 18, here is the letter from Mr. Spurling:
That is a nice touch! It shows all the difference between a voluntary organisation and the cold civil service of a Government Department—the Christian name!—
Thank you for the reminder about my not having arranged for you to be supplied with working clothes."—
This is three months after he had asked for them, with three reminders—
The truth of the matter is that I have not been able to determine how I could arrange this for you. I see, however, from your official record that your mother lives in Birmingham, and I am wondering whether she could see the local Discharged Prisoners Aid Society or go to the W.V.S. on your behalf. I enclose a letter addressed to the W.V.S., and perhaps you will find it practicable either yourself to go into town or get your mother to call there on your behalf.
Every good wish,
W. F. Spurling,
Prison Welfare Officer—London Area.
"Every good wish" my Lords—three months after a man has been out of prison! And his only humble request was that he should have help to get some working clothes to work in a cement factory. My Lords, this Association is under the gracious patronage of Her Majesty The Queen. The President is the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Although it is a voluntary organisation, the whole of the expenses of its offices are paid by the taxpayers by way of a Treasury grant. These are the facts.
Finally, in sending those documents to me the man also told me this:
Since last writing to you, my employers have again asked for my employment cards. That was on Wednesday last. So it would appear that I still have no cards. I am greatly contented in my present position, but I feel I am in grave peril of losing it.
With regard to my application for cards I made a first application at the National Insurance Office, Bournemouth Road, Peckham. A gentleman there requested that I fill in a form and a card would be sent in due course. I pointed out my need for at least a temporary document but was told 'Oh, we don't do that here!'
On my arrival in Birmingham, I went to the National Insurance Office at Five Ways. Same form of procedure there. I filled in a form to a woman clerk. But try as I might, I could not convince her of my dire need for this simple document. Just something to prove I have applied for employment cards. In desperation I went to the probation offices. I there saw a young woman who very
promptly rang up to the insurance office, and lo! I got the letter.
But why should it have been such a job to get it? Why should I have had to waste many hours walking round chasing these people? Above all, why should I have been discharged from prison with no cards? I almost hear the glib excuses now! 'A clerical error … the system broke down … a most unfortunate incident … and so on'.
The real truth is that 'nobody wanted to know'. I wonder how many more have found themselves in the same predicament? And how many of those gave up and went back to crime? If I had done so and ended up in court what judge would believe it, or rather want to believe it?
There is one simple thing I would stress. At the moment I am in no need of aid in any form. Although I was in need, that time has gone. But I just had to find out just how long the C.A.C.A."—
that is, the Central After-Care Association—
and the D.P.A. would go on 'stonewalling'. You have the answer in the enclosed documents.
§ My Lords, that is a true but terrible story. It is a story which, from my own knowledge, can be duplicated many times over. The only thing exceptional about it is the man's extraordinary determination to overcome apparently insurmountable obstacles and senseless obstruction. If, as so many do, he had fallen down again, then those whose official callousness and indifference pushed him down should be in the dock with him. The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor declined to accept a somewhat similar Amendment in Committee because he said it was only fair to see what the Advisory Council had to say. But this matter cannot wait. Eight years ago, the Maxwell Committee made recommendations somewhat similar to those we are making in this Amendment, Four years afterwards, the Advisory Council had another look at the matter. Now we are told that we must wait again. For how many more years? And still there is no after-care. This year, next year, and every year, thousands of men and women are coming out of prison to face the conditions I have described. There is no money for them and no jobs ready for them to go to. Many of them will go back to prison, There is no continuity between the welfare officer in prison and outside. There are not enough welfare officers in prison and no enough after-care officers outside, only over-worked probation officers 153 There is no direction or co-ordination of after-care.
§ I am conscious of the fact that I have not the noble and learned Viscount's great abilities or his power. If I possess anything, it is a modest ability in administration and management. But I have the will, and if I had the power, in six months I know that I would clear up this shambles, this utterly disgraceful un-Christian blot on our society. Virtually nothing is done for these men and women who have committed crimes and who have paid the price that society demands and then come out of prison. Every official hand is against them. Nobody believes them. Would I have dared to come to this Box and give their story if I had not indisputable proof in the documents themselves and in the follow-ups by the Chairman of the National Assistance Board? It is difficult for an ex-prisoner to be heard because he is not normally believed, but this is the truth and cannot be got round. This Bill may be our last opportunity. That is why my noble friends and I regard it as supremely important. And I appeal to noble Lords opposite. It is important to all of them who have heard these facts. We cannot, without hypocrisy, go on deploring the crime wave unless we are prepared to do something, when men come out of prison, to ensure that they do net go back. That is what I am asking for.
§ I think that the noble and learned Viscount knows just how highly I regard all that he does and the extremely courteous, careful and painstaking consideration he gives, in a manner unexampled, and certainly unsurpassed, to all matters we put to him. I say to him, with the greatest respect, that we cannot be satisfied to-day with soothing words, however kindly meant. We ask for action or the definite promise of action; and the biggest surety we can have of that action would be the acceptance of this Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 15, line 16, at end insert the said subsection.—(Lord Stonham.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am sure that every noble Lord who has heard the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, accepts the complete sincerity and depth of feeling with which he spoke, but when we come to 154 the Amendment which he asks your Lordships to accept, I really do not see how the Amendment helps in regard to the thesis which he has propounded. The Amendment is simply a different expression of the Amendment moved during Committee stage to secure that all aftercare should be brought under the control of a Government Department responsible to the Secretary of State and placed in charge of a Director of After-Care with the status of a Prison Commissioner. The present Amendment would simply defer the coming into operation of Clause 20 of the Bill, which deals with the supervision of prisoners after release, until the Director of After-Care has been appointed.
On Committee stage we had a full debate on after-care, and I am afraid that I dealt with the subject at considerable length. I do not want to repeat what I said then, but I think it is important to have in mind the lines on which after-care has been dealt with during past years. After-care is divided into two kinds—voluntary after-care and statutory after-care. By "voluntary" care is meant aid after discharge granted to a person released absolutely, with no condition requiring him to accept help and no sanction, other than the normal process of the courts, if he misbehaves after discharge. Statutory after-care is a form of obligatory acceptance of supervision as a condition of discharge and carries with it a liability to recall to confinement for a breach of any condition of the supervision.
One of the objects of the Bill is to extend statutory after-care, and that is something with which neither the Amendment nor the noble Lord has really dealt. The noble Lord's speech was a criticism of voluntary after-care, which is the responsibility of 37 local discharged prisoners' aid societies and the National Association of these societies. As the noble Lord indicated, although he did not give the full details, half the approved administrative expenditure of local societies and the whole of that of the National Association is borne by the Exchequer, as is half the cost of the clothing which is given to prisoners on their discharge.
I do not want to get into a controversy on the results of individual cases. I am not going to dispute the facts. I would not dispute them until 155 I had investigated them myself. But I can say this. For years I was the president of a local discharged prisoners' aid society. True, that was 30 years ago or thereabouts, but I knew the work of my own society. In addition, I secured a full description of the National Society before I made an appeal for it over the B.B.C. on The Week's Good Cause, not when I was Home Secretary but when I was out of office, some twelve or fifteen years ago.
I want to use the utmost moderation, but I can say that I have seen letter after letter thanking my own society, and I have been told of case after case by the National Society where the greatest gratitude has been shown and the deepest concern by the officers of societies in doing this work for discharged prisoners. Therefore I think it would be unfortunate if it went out from your Lordships' House, unchallenged and uncontradicted, that the effect of that work is as the noble Lord said: that this Association, with the other people concerned, did all that they could to harm the discharged prisoner. I know the noble Lord feels strongly about this, and I do not want to put it in an argumentative way, but I say definitely, from my experience, that it is an over-statement, and I am sorry that he put the case as high as that.
§ LORD STONHAM
I think the comment of the noble and learned Viscount is justified in so far as the National Association of Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies is concerned. I should not have said—it is not true—that they did everything possible to harm the man. But certainly in the case about which I spoke (the documents support it beyond dispute) they did nothing effective to help him. I will withdraw the first statement that I made.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
If the noble Lord withdraws the statement, I say nothing more about it; but I felt that I ought to say what I have said, speaking with all the moderation that I can. I am sure that, on reflection, the noble Lord will agree that I could not say less than I have said.
I want to say only a word or two on the general question, and if I repeat what I have already put before your 156 Lordships, I hope that your Lordships will bear with me. The Government's interest in problems of discharged offenders has steadily increased, as I have said, since the passing of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948. The Committee on the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies (commonly known as the Maxwell Committee) was set up in 1951 by my predecessor, Mr. Chuter Ede, the Home Secretary in the Labour Government, and the recommendations of that Committee were accepted by me in 1951, when I became Home Secretary, a position I held until 1954. It is now seven years since I was at the Home Office, but I have made inquiries and have been told that the recommendations were gradually implemented.
The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, referred to the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Young Offenders. It is quite correct that in 1957 they were asked to consider whether statutory after-care should be extended to more persons released from prison, and the following year, 1958, the Committee reported in favour of the gradual extension of this system to certain categories of ex-prisoners. The Bill which your Lordships are now considering contains provision for this, and also for extension of the system to detention centre inmates, for which there has long been a demand. I do not think that is very bad.
One knows the difficulty of fitting into the legislative programme Bills dealing with various aspects of life. Here we have a Report in 1958, and this Bill produced in 1960, after consideration dealing with the recommendation. The rapid increase in the number of welfare officers, I am told, has already substantially increased the cost to the Exchequer of after-care, and this will be further increased by the proposed extention of after-care. This extension will also inevitably bring with it new problems of organisation, including the relationship between wholly voluntary workers and officials and the members of quasi official organisations.
These, my Lords, are the problems, and it was in view of these problems and developments impending that my right honourable friend announced during the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill in another place that he intended to invite the Advisory Council 157 on the Treatment of Young Offenders this time to undertake a review of the arrangements for the organisation of statutory and voluntary after-care. That will cover (I said this before) after-care for persons discharged from prisons, borstals, detention centres and approved schools. Again, I think it is reasonable that, if you have an Advisory Council to help you on these matters, you ought to take their advice and the benefit of their experience.
Those of us who take part in what my friend Oliver used to callthe endless adventure of the government of menare always liable to two criticisms. If we do not ask advice, but rely on the knowledge of ourselves and our Departments, we are said to be bureaucrats without an eye outside Whitehall. On the other hand, if we have an Advisory Committee of people such as my noble friend Lady Elliot of Harwood, unconnected with the Department, who give us the advantage of their wide experience of the world, then we are accused of dodging decisions and fobbing them off with the excuse that we have referred them to an external body. I make no complaint about that. I am far too fond of the government of men to let such a complaint as that worry me or make me lose a minute's sleep. It is one of the burdens which everyone who likes this form of activity, as I do, is quite prepared to take, and I only say that it is a fair consideration I have given the circumstances in which my right honourable friend referred this matter to the Advisory Council, and I hope your Lordships, on consideration, will think that is a proper thing to do.
There has been great additional interest, and it is not confined to the Home Office. As I mentioned previously (I certainly intended to pay a tribute to them, and I hope I did), the gathering of those under the chairmanship of the noble Earl, Lord Longford, who produced a most interesting Report on problems of the ex-prisoner, did, if I may say so, an admirable work; and I also previously commended, and commend again, the work of Mrs. Pauline Morris, Prison After-Care; Charity or Public Responsibility?, which was issued as a Fabian Society pamphlet. I am quite certain (again I say it, but I have no reason to doubt) that my noble friend 158 Lady Elliot of Harwood and her colleagues have been greatly helped by both these works.
This Bill is a great step forward in statutory after-care. As the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said, I have already made clear—and in that I was only repeating what my right honourable friend the Home Secretary said—that the proposals for the extension of compulsory after-care will not be implemented until sufficient probation officers are available to cope with the extra work involved. But the fact that we are going to see that the staff is adequate, and the fact that we are going to get the best advice we can from the Advisory Council does not, I assure you, mean that this work will be slowed down. It is one of the two vitally important aspects of this Bill, and my right honourable friend is determined that the work will continue and increase.
I should not have trespassed on your Lordships' time for so long on a matter which was fully discussed in Committee stage were it not that I felt it right, in view of the feeling shown by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, who has contributed so much to the debates on this Bill, that I should deal with the subject again. But as I said to the noble Earl, Lord Longford, before, if he feels as a gesture that he ought to divide I should not have any ill-will for it. But whether he divides or not will make no difference to the determination of my right honourable friend to see that this work is continued—and, indeed, is increased and bettered as time goes on.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am very grateful, as the members of the Pakenham-Thompson Committee will be, for the kind words said about that Committee by the Lord Chancellor, and I echo also the tribute he paid to the special work done by Mrs. Morris who, as he is aware, is also a member of our own Committee. I am naturally very glad to hear that the work of developing after-care will not be slowed down. But perhaps I might just say one word on that subject and on the general point about handing a matter of this kind, in these circumstances, to the Advisory Council. I quite agree with him that a Government that goes outside its own ranks for advice is criticised 159 from one point of view, and if it confines itself to its own advisers is criticised from another. Anything I say on that matter will not cause the noble Viscount any loss of sleep, and I am glad of that because he is almost the only senior Member of this House whom I have not seen asleep in this Chamber, and I should be sorry to deprive him of his well-earned rest at night.
I feel that it is just worth pausing for a moment to consider whether the Advisory Council has been used in the right circumstances here. The arguments for having an Advisory Council are, of course, strong: you draw on the experience of the noble Lady, Baroness Elliot of Harwood, and others from all over the kingdom, so to speak, and you bring their dispassionate minds to bear. Arguments against are that it may, I will not say detract from the ultimate responsibility of the Minister, because in a sense nothing can do that; but it may rather impinge upon it. We have to face the fact that when an Advisory Council of this kind reports, the situation confronting the Minister is not the same as the one before it reports. That may work out for righteousness, as I feel it did in the case of corporal punishment. It may even work out that, certainly on the publication of a report of this sort, it undoubtedly leaves the Minister less unshackled than he would be otherwise. I am not complaining about that. I think, on the whole, in the world in which we live, the work of the Advisory Councils is of assistance rather than the opposite when we are dealing with penal reform.
But there are other points. I think it may cause delay, and that brings me to what the noble Viscount said: that the work would be pressed on with. But, in fact, as was said at an earlier stage, the Home Secretary announced in November that this was going to be handed to the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council did not meet until May. I cannot regard that as rapid progress. I must criticise clearly and emphatically the failure of the Home Secretary to mobilise the Advisory Council between November and May. It seems to me a signal failure, and I do not think any other words should fall from me—and the Home Secretary is well aware of my admiration for his penal work. It may be that the Advisory 160 Council were busy—one of them (not Lady Elliot of Harwood) said they were resting, I think, after their labours on corporal punishment, or words to that effect.
The disadvantage of an Advisory Council is that they are not like the Civil Service or politicians, in the sense of being always "on tap". They have to be mobilised, sometimes with difficulty. We were told yesterday by Lady Elliot of Harwood that it was not entirely a matter of hours before she could mobilise her sub-committee to deal with the Henriques Plan. There are, therefore, delays in this matter. I think it is a slower method. I think one must put that on the debit side. I would particularly suggest that the use of an Advisory Council in dealing with an important aspect of a Bill just passing through Parliament should be resorted to only with the greatest caution. I am not complaining here of the use of the Advisory Council in regard to the Henriques Plan, because that was a new proposition and I think that, in the circumstances, that was a proper use of it, even though I was unhappy that we could not put something in the Bill in advance. In the case of after-care there was really no such excuse.
The present distinguished Home Secretary embarked on his office at the beginning of 1957, and there was surely no need to wait until November, 1960, to announce that the matter was being handed to the Advisory Council before the Advisory Council was actually brought to bear on it. So I cannot feel that the delay was necessary before the introduction of the Bill, and I am afraid that the transfer of an issue of this kind to an Advisory Council during a Bill does tend to blanket discussion. We have not had a discussion on after-care in spite of all the courtesy of the noble and learned Viscount. May I say, with great respect, that while the noble Viscount has been able to tell us what was there, and to deal firmly with any exaggerations that he felt came from our side, he has not been able to argue for or against this proposition because he has had to leave that to the Advisory Council? That is not the position in which the noble Viscount usually finds himself. His hands have been tied for debating purposes by this resort to a particular method of consultation. I 161 think we must in future at any rate ask ourselves whether this is the right way of making use of an Advisory Council. I am bound to say that I hope the Council will not be used again in circumstances of this sort.
But now may we come to the issue itself? I do not want to repeat what I have said quite often in this House and a good many times outside. Where ex-prisoners are concerned it is very easy for hearts to become cold. Many who do not know anything about ex-prisoners do not want to know. They have an uneasy feeling that their consciences would be unpleasantly touched if they got close to the subject. Some who have worked in this field for many years have got weary and sometimes, also, their hearts, if not cold are at least a little tepid. Therefore it is undoubtedly a fine thing if somebody who has indeed worked greatly in this field, like the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, comes along and stirs the feelings of all of us with that heart-rending speech.
I must say clearly that I do not join in any condemnation of the individuals engaged in the work of after-care. There may be some duds among them; they would be a very unusual body if there were not one or two duds. But I should not like it to go out from me, at any rate, as I do know some of these gentlemen quite intimately, that I am critical of any individuals concerned. I paid a tribute last time to Commander Hague, who is the new Director of Men's After-Care and also the General Secretary of NADPAS. I repeat that tribute now. I know and think well of Mr. Spurling who was mentioned. I must say that much; it would be rather cowardly not to do so.
I think the well documented stories placed before us by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, require a great deal of answering, and if I seem able to assure your Lordships that the men concerned are excellent people we are bound to ask how these rather scandalous events are possible; and I would say, as is generally the case when you get perfectly good people seeming to be connected with very lamentable events, that the set-up is utterly wrong. I said last time that I felt that if the noble Viscount, Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery of Alamein, were with us and 162 knew this particular set-up he would describe it as "nonsense" or "a shambles" or "a mess". To-day we have the noble and gallant Field-Marshal here. May I take it from him he might be ready to apply those words? I know the noble Viscount has a great tradition for almost over-preparing before he wins his battles. I gather I am not to be allowed to draw him to his feet for the purpose of his maiden contribution this afternoon, but I think that if he knew the set-up he would agree with those words, which I learned from him incidentally during a time when he was very kind to me in the War Office.
Without dwelling too long on the setup, may I remind your Lordships how extraordinary it is? The Director of Men's After-Care, which is what might be called the Governmental body, is also the General Secretary of N.A.D.P.A.S., which is the voluntary body. He wears the two hats, the State hat and the voluntary hat. Without looking further, I think we can regard that as a lamentable arrangement. If, when we get to the unfortunate prisoners, there are some very distressing happenings, I think we find the cause easily enough on the organisational level, and that alone, it seems to me, justifies the strong Amendment put down by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, in which he calls for a revolution in the arrangements.
I want to touch on only one other point, and I do not want to detain the House this afternoon, having spoken on these things often and no doubt I will speak on them often again. It seems to me that it is time we gave after-care a much better priority, a higher priority in our official thinking. Some people will say these official priorities do not matter, but I do not think the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, would use that argument, and I do not think the experienced administrators who are sitting around me to-day would use that argument.
Let us for one moment consult Whitaker's Almanack and try to find in Whitaker any official who is in any way described as being connected with aftercare. We cannot. I will not bet a large sum, but I have hunted high and low, and I cannot find Commander Hague in Whitaker. In half his capacity he would appear to be a Government official. Perhaps if you are only half a Govern- 163 ment official you do not get into Whitaker. however heavy your responsibilities. I cannot discover him here or in the British Imperial Calendar and Civil Service List. I find a D. B. Hague, but he deals with historical monuments, and I cannot think the Commander can deal with that, although of course many of the prisons would qualify under that heading; but it would seem rather a strange description. So he does not seem to be in any official list of civil servants at all. There is often said to be—indeed, I know as a matter of fact, to be candid, there is—an assistant commissioner who is concerned with after-care, but I think his connection is one of which no one seems, at any rate, to boast. To the best of my belief, it is Mr. Cape, and under the assistant commissioners you will see C. T. Cape, but he is described as "education and welfare". So even the assistant commissioner who has some link with after-care is not mentioned in that capacity. I think these facts show that the priority given to the after-care is of the minimal kind. I am sure that in our thinking we have to treat the whole subject in quite a different way altogether.
I do not mean to say more. I am sure that when the Government have had time to study the various proposals and various schemes they will reach the conclusion that a revolution is certainly necessary. I feel certain myself that they will reach the conclusion that the State must assume, for the first time, at any rate a minimum responsibility for all those who come out of prison. A certain minimum responsibility is assumed for those who are brought under statutory after-care, and I am glad that number is to be much increased; but the much larger number who will not come under statutory aftercare, of course, are not under this Bill being offered any new provision at all; and until we do that we shall, it seems to me, be treating our prisoners like hospital patients on whom we operate and then throw out of hospital next day. We begin the treatment and we leave it unfinished, and in many circumstances we leave it so that it will do more harm than good. I support the ideas of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham. I do not wish to condemn any individuals concerned with after-care. Those who go into this work need all the encouragement 164 they can receive. But I would say that the present set-up is absolutely shocking, and until we alter it totally we shall get only very un-Christian after-care, in so far as we get any at all.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, I want to delay your Lordships for only a moment. Reference has been made by the noble Earl, quite rightly, to the Advisory Council, of which I am a member. He suggested that it was improper to ask the Advisory Council to give any advice about this very difficult subject. I entirely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said, that there are terrible problems in tragic cases, but, as the noble Viscount has pointed out, there are many areas where after-care does work, and I think it would be hard to condemn the whole system, although it is undoubtedly very difficult to organise and needs a great deal of improvement.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt? I am afraid I did not make myself quite plain on that point. I do not say that in principle this is a subject which should not be handed to the Advisory Council for study, but I think, in the circumstances, when a Bill had already been introduced, transfer of this subject to the Advisory Council would in fact blanket discussion.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
I follow the noble Earl's point. The fact is that we cannot come to decisions so readily as if we were all getting up and making speeches and saying what we thought should be done and then leaving it to the Home Secretary to take action. But, in fact, what is the right way to do this job? Neither of the two noble Lords opposite really knows. One has suggested that a Director of After-Care should be appointed on the staff of the Prison Commissioners. It might be a very good way; but it might, on the other hand, not be the best way. One does not know, because there are so many interests involved. The object of referring it to the sub-committee of the Council was in order that we should be able to get all the opinions from a variety of different people working in this field, up and down the country. This has been done before. The Advisory Council was set up by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, when he was 165 Home Secretary, and the first job we did was to go carefully into every clause of the Criminal Justice Bill, 1948. I well remember working clause by clause on that Bill when Mr. Chuter Ede was the Home Secretary, and he was good enough, when the Bill finally went through, to make reference to the help he had received from the Advisory Council during the progress of the Bill.
Since then many subjects have been referred to the Advisory Council, to one of which the noble Lord has particularly referred—the question of corporal punishment. That was the last one we dealt with. I think it was because we worked fairly hard on the corporal punishment report that we were unable to take up these other two subjects as early as we might have done. In fact, we did fairly quick work on the corporal punishment report. When I note the time that is taken by other Commissions to report, some of them many years, I think that our nine months was not too bad at all. It was because of that that we could not start immediately on these new subjects, and not, as the noble Earl has said, because we wanted a rest. We finished one and we immediately began to start on three other subjects.
I think that what the noble Viscount has said on this subject is really wise advice. There are many different points of view. Nobody thinks that the system is by any means perfect. We want to see it much better. But there are a great many different points of view. I myself believe that the noble Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, who sits behind me, and who has been mentioned as referring to things as "shambles" and "a mess", would probably agree that to plan away from "shambles" and "a mess" takes a little time. Revolutions sometimes make more mess than reforms. We hope to reform this system rapidly as soon as we have a line to go on. I think it is premature to accept this Amendment now. I am sure I speak for my colleagues on the Council when I say that we will not delay in any way in making a plan which will come before the Home Secretary as soon as possible.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am glad to hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, that there will 166 be no delay. If and when the plan of her sub-committee is published, we shall be pleased to see it and to study it. But I should like to make it clear—I do not know whether she thought this, but it seemed from her words that she did—that our Amendment was not put down casually on some superficial information; it was based on most carefully worked out conclusions, after a great deal of work by the Pakenham-Thompson Committee, which was mainly, although not entirely, composed of distinguished persons who are most experienced in this class of work. They included Frank Daltry, the General Secretary of the National Society of Probation Officers and Mr. E. H. Rolf; and even Lieutenant-Commander Hague was an adviser.
I do not wish to say any more except on two or three points to which the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor referred. He referred to the three cases and, quite rightly, said that he could not deal with special cases. They were not brought forward as such, but merely as examples of what happened. I could have quoted fifty cases in varying degrees. They were brought forward merely as examples of the way the system does not work. I have no intention whatever of condemning individuals in voluntary organisations; but I do condemn the organisations themselves because they are totally inadequate for the job, and I think we should be entirely wrong, because of any private personal feelings, to neglect to say what we know is so manifestly true.
Nor do I withdraw a single word of the observations I made with regard to local offices of the Government Departments. I do not know whether the situation I have described is in fact the policy of those Departments—I am asking the Ministers concerned—or whether what happens is the result of a particular official's application of what he thought was the policy. I do not know, but we shall find out.
The last point is that the noble and learned Viscount said once more, with his usual generosity, that he would not mind if, as a gesture, we should again divide the House. I assure him that we have no interest in gestures; we are not interested in scoring points on this issue. The only thing we are concerned with is trying to improve the appallingly bad, 167 inadequate and, as I think, non-existent after-care system, so that people coming out of prison who are at present liable either to go back or to go on to the scrap heap, can have the chance of becoming useful and decent citizens. That is the only thing that we have in mind.
I have noticed that although we have not a great number of noble Lords here, we have about four times the number now that we started with—a most unusual experience for me, at least. Your Lordships have stayed. To me, this is a sign that the question we are discussing is one of keen interest. I inform your Lordships of my intention now. So that these cases should be considered, so that the inquiries I have made to the respective Ministers should have a chance of bringing replies, and so that there can be no question whatever about what the system is before we part with this Bill, I propose, with the help of my noble friend, to table an Amendment to be considered on Third Reading.
By that time we hope that all members will have been able to consider what has been said to-day, and to have had the fullest possible investigation. We can then come to Third Reading and raise this point again, so that it can be considered without any question of doubt or any dubiety at all; we shall really know what we are talking about, to the extent that things cannot be challenged and there cannot be any doubt put on them. Then I feel we can come to a decision. I hope it will be a matter upon which this House can take an objective decision based on the facts, without any kind of question of Party politics, but on the basis of the facts and on what I am sure is your Lordships' intention, to help these people who so badly need help. With that, I ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 26 [Transfer to serve sentence]:
§ 6.18 p.m.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved to add to the proviso to subsection (5):
(b) where a person so sentenced at any time in Scotland or Northern Ireland is transferred to England and Wales, the period after his release during which, under subsections (3) and (4) of the said section forty-five, he remains under supervision and is liable to be recalled shall end not later than the date on
which he would have ceased to be under supervision under the law of the place where he was sentenced, if he had been released there.
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, may I call the attention of the House to Amendments No. 18, 19 and 22. These are drafting Amendments, the purpose of which is to collect together in subsection (5) of Clause 26 all the special provisions relating to persons sentenced to borstal training who are subsequently transferred to another part of the United Kingdom. At present these provisions are partly in that subsection and partly in subsection (6). I could give a detailed exposition, but I assure your Lordships that this is a drafting Amendment and therefore I do not propose to go into it now unless any of your Lordships ask me to. I beg to move Amendment No. 18.
Page 19, line 16, at end insert the said paragraph.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
Page 19, line 17, at end insert (",not being a person sentenced to borstal training,").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, if I might again ask for the indulgence of the House, I would ask your Lordships to consider Amendments 20, 21 and 23 together. These are also drafting Amendments. The first two substitute references to the prisoner being subject to supervision, instead of under supervision, and thereby bring the drafting into line with that used elsewhere in subsection (6). The second Amendment improves the drafting of subsection (7) and removes doubt. In particular, the words after the semicolon make it clear that subsection (6) applies to prisoners who are under the age of 21 when sentenced and who, under Section 25 (2) of the Prison Act, 1952 (or the corresponding provisions of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Acts), may, at the discretion of the prison authorities, either be granted remission of sentence or be released under a young prisoner's licence. As a matter of practice they are invariably released on licence, but it could not be predicted whether, if they 169 had not been transferred, they would necessarily have been released on licence. Accordingly, there might be argument as to whether subsection (6) applied to young prisoners released on licence. I asked your Lordships to agree to these drafting Amendments.
Page 19, line 32, leave out ("under such supervision") and insert ("so subject")—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, may I move Amendments 21, 22 and 23 together? I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 19, line 34, leave out ("been under") and insert ("continued to be subject to")
§ Page 19, line 40, leave out ("borstal training")
§ Page 19, line 42, leave out subsection (7) and insert—
§ ("(7) In subsection (6) of this section references to supervision include references to any obligation to comply with requirements or conditions imposed by a licence or otherwise imposed by law on or in connection with release from a prison or other institution, and any liability to be recalled or returned thereto; and for the purposes of that subsection it shall be assumed that a person who, if released in his place of sentence, could have been placed under supervision, would have been so placed.") —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 24. I do not propose to speak on it, because the point is clear and I made it clear on the Committee stage. My only reason for tabling it and moving it again is that the noble and learned Viscount the Leader of the House, when it was discussed in Committee, undertook to consider with his right honourable friend the Home Secretary some of the points I made in support of the Amendment, and to let me know something about it on Report. I am therefore moving it now in the hope that he may be able to give us some further information.
After Clause 33, insert the following new clause—
§ Supervision orders
§ (". Section seventy-one of the Magistrates Court Act, 1952 (which authorises a magistrates' court, on summary conviction, to make 170 a supervision order pending payment of a fine) shall apply to Courts of Quarter Sessions.").—(Lord Stonham.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right in his account of the facts. My noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham indicated that the Government sympathised with the object of the Amendment, but that it was not practicable to superimpose an effective system of supervision on the present procedure for the enforcement of fines in the superior courts, which was quite different from that in magistrates' courts. Your Lordships will remember that, in the absence in the superior courts of any means of inquiry before committal, or of any power to postpone committal once the offender is in default, supervision could not be made to work effectively, and it would really require revision of the procedure.
The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, understandably, asked that we should look at the point again, and my noble and learned friend said that he would refer it to the Home Secretary, although I think the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, would agree that he was not very hopeful. He did so, and the matter was considered again, although I should tell my noble friend that it had been considered on an undertaking when either this Amendment or a similar Amendment was moved in the Commons, so it was not a new subject. The conclusion was reached that it would be a mistake to attempt to deal piecemeal with the procedure for the enforcement of fines in the superior courts. We have considered it, and there is no convenient way of meeting the point in the Amendment short of a wholesale revision of the Levy of Fines Act, 1822, and the Queen's Remembrancer Act, 1859, as well as of the relevant provisions in the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, which would be quite beyond the scope of the present Bill. And that is, of course, in addition to the two other difficulties which my noble and learned friend mentioned: that the Amendment does not apply to courts of assize and, of course, that it applies to offenders of all ages.
I should like again to assure the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, that one of the matters which my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has been most keen on is to try to sweep up the cobwebs of the 171 law. I think the noble Lord would concede that he has done a great deal of work in that way. He has asked me to tell the noble Lord that he will bear this point in mind, as I myself will, because I also have done a little work in this sphere of law reform, which I hope will continue. I am sorry that I cannot do any more for the noble Lord, but I do not see how we can get round these difficulties in this Bill.
§ LORD STONHAM
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Viscount. He has indeed done all I had hoped for, in that he has given rather more information and a further and more definite assurance, for which I am very grateful. I would ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 41 [Minor and consequential amendments and repeals]:
THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved to add to the clause:
() In accordance with subsections (1) and (2) of this section, but subject to subsection (3) thereof and to the repeal provided for by subsection (6) of section eighteen of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, the following enactments (which relate to borstal training) that is to say section twenty of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, section twenty-eight of the Magistrates' Courts Act. 1952, and section forty-five of the Prison Act, 1952, shall, after the commencement of all such provisions of the Fourth and Fifth Schedules to this Act as relate to those enactments, have effect as set out in the Schedule (Enactments relating to borstal training as they will have effect, subject to s. 41 (3) of this Act and to s. 18 (6) of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949, when all amendments made in them by this Act operate) to this Act.
The noble and learned Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment, which your Lordships will see is at page 27, line 37, inserts a new subsection and deals with the position created by subsections (1) and (2) and the repeal provided for by subsection (6) of Section 18 of the Legal Aid and Advice Act. It provides:
… the following enactments (which relate to borstal training) that is to say Section 20 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, Section 28 of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952, and Section 45 of the Prison Act, 1952, shall, after the commencement of all such provisions of the Fourth and Fifth Schedules to this Act ֵ have effect as set out in the Sixth Schedule to this Act.
§ My Lords, the effect of that, if your Lordships would look at Amendments 172 25, 26 and 27, and then the new Schedule which is Amendment 37, is that this represents a form of Statute Law consolidation. It reproduces certain statutory provisions relating to borstal training which have been extensively amended by the Bill. These provisions are set out after taking into account amendments made by previous legislation, as well as amendments made by the Bill. The latter are printed in heavy type in the Bill so that the effect of the Bill on the provisions can be easily seen. We hope that this consolidation will make it much easier for practitioners and other persons concerned with borstal training to know what is the current law on the subject. I recollect (it is some time ago now) that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, suggested this method of dealing with another Bill; because, with the black printing, it makes the matter stand out and allows people to see the new law. There is no political content in these Amendments at all: it is simply a matter of arrangement. I beg to move.
Page 27, line 37, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 42 [Application to Scotland and Northern Ireland]:
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I will move Amendments Nos. 26 and 27 together. I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 28, line 1, leave out ("and Fifth") and insert (", Fifth and Sixth").
§ Page 28, line 12, leave out ("Schedule") and insert ("and Sixth Schedules").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Third Schedule [Supervision of certain discharged prisoners]:
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, perhaps I may take Amendments Nos. 30, 31, 32 and 33 together. They are drafting Amendments designed to simplify the various references to the period of supervision, and to avoid any confusion which might arise from the fact that, by reason of Clause 26, subsection (6), the period of supervision may, in the case of a prisoner transferred to England and Wales from elsewhere, be less than twelve months. As I say, 173 they are simply drafting Amendments for clarification purposes. I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 32, line 13, after ("Schedule") insert ("(in this Schedule referred to as the period of supervision)").
§ Page 32, line 21, leave out from ("of") to end of line 22 and insert ("supervision").
§ Page 32, line 40, leave out from second ("of") to ("supervision") in line 42.
§ Page 33, line 36, leave out ("paragraph 1, 4 and 5") and insert ("paragraph 1").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
My Lords, this is also a drafting Amendment, and I am glad to be able to tell the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, that the Bill now moans exactly what I said it meant. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
Page 34, line 36, leave out paragraph 17 and insert—
("17. In relation to anything falling to be done in Scotland under Part I of this Schedule, for the words 'an officer of the Society or a probation officer', wherever they occur, there shall be substituted the words 'an officer of the Society or any other person, including a probation officer in Scotland, authorised by the Society'.")—(Earl Bathurst.)
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, may I thank the noble Earl very Touch for the redrafting of this clause?
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, this is the new Schedule to which I referred. I do not think I need detain your Lordships on it any longer. I beg to move.
§ Amendment moved—
§ After the Fifth Schedule to insert the following new Schedule—
§ [In this Schedule words inserted by the Bill are printed in heavy type.]
§ ("ENACTMENTS RELATING TO BORSTAL TRAINING AS THEY WILL HAVE EFFECT, SUBJECT TO S. 41 (3) OF THIS ACT AND TO S. 18 (6) OF THE LEGAL AID AND ADVICE ACT, 1949, WHEN ALL AMENDMENTS MADE IN THEM BY THIS ACT OPERATE
§ [Borstal training]
§ 20.—(1) Where a person is convicted on indictment of an offence punishable with imprisonment, then if on the day of his con- 174 viction he is not less than fifteen but under twenty-one years of age and a sentence of borstal training is available in his case under subsection (2) of section one of the Criminal Justice Act, 1960, the court may, in lieu of any other sentence, pass a sentence of borstal training.
- (a) where the court of summary jurisdiction acts for a county other than the County of London or for a borough not having a separate court of quarter sessions, to the appeal committee of the quarter sessions for that county or for the county in which that borough is situated, as the case may be;
- (b) in any other case, to the next court of quarter sessions having jurisdiction in the county, borough or place for which the court of summary jurisdiction acts;
§ (5) Where an offender is so committed for sentence as aforesaid, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
- (a) the appeal committee or court of quarter sessions shall inquire into the circumstances of the case and may—
- (i) if a sentence of borstal training is available in his case under subsection (2) of section one of the Criminal Justice Act, 1960, sentence him to borstal training; or
- (ii) in any case, deal with him in any manner in which the court of summary jurisdiction might have dealt with him;
§ (b) the Poor Prisoners Defence Act, 1930, shall apply as if the offender were committed for trial for an indictable offence, subject to the modifications specified in subsections (4) and (5) of section eighteen of the Legal Aid and Advice Act, 1949;
§ (d) if the appeal committee or court of quarter sessions passes a sentence of borstal training, the offender may appeal against the sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal as if he had been convicted on indictment, and the provisions of the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, shall apply accordingly.
§ (6) References to a court of quarter sessions or a court in any enactment as applied by the last foregoing subsection, or in any other enactment relating to persons dealt with by quarter sessions (including any such enactment contained in this Act) shall be construed as including references to an anneal committee of quarter sessions by whom an offender is dealt with under that subsection.175
§ [Committal to quarter sessions with a view to a borstal sentence]
§ 28.—(1) Where a person is convicted by a magistrates' court of an offence punishable on summary conviction with imprisonment, then, if on the day of the conviction he is not less than fifteen but under twenty-one years old and is a person who, under subsections (2) and (4) of section one of the Criminal Justice Act, 1960, may be committed for a sentence of borstal training, the court may commit him in custody to quarter sessions for sentence in accordance with the provisions of section twenty of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948.
§ (4) A person committed under subsection (1) of this section shall be committed—
- (a) if the court has been notified by the Secretary of State that a remand centre is available for the reception, from that court, of persons of the class or description of the person committed, to a remand centre;
- (b) if the court has not been so notified, to a prison.
§ 45.—(1) A person sentenced to borstal training shall be detained in a borstal institution, and after his release therefrom shall be subject to supervision, in accordance with the following provisions of this section; subject, however, to the power of the Secretary of State under subsection (2) of the last preceding section to commute in certain cases the unexpired part of the term for which a person is liable to be so detained to a term of imprisonment.
§ (2) A person sentenced to borstal training shall be detained in a borstal institution for such period, not extending beyond two years after the date of his sentence, as the Prison Commissioners may determine, and shall then be released:
§ Provided that the Prison Commissioners shall not release any such person from a borstal institution before the expiration of six months from the date of his sentence unless required to do so by directions of the Secretary of State.
§ (3) A person shall, after his release from a borstal institution and until the expiration of two years from the date of his release, be under the supervision of such society or person as may be specified in a notice to be given to him by the Prison Commissioners on his release, and shall, while under that supervision, comply with such requirements as may be so specified:
§ Provided that the Prison Commissioners may at any time modify or cancel any of the said requirements to order that a person who is under supervision as aforesaid shall cease to be under supervision.176
§ (4) If before the expiration of two years from the date of his release the Prison Commissioners are satisfied that a person who is under supervision after his release from a borstal institution under subsection (2) of this section has failed to comply with any requirement for the time being specified in the notice given to him under subsection (3) of this section, they may by order recall him to a borstal institution; and thereupon he shall be liable to be detained in the borstal institution until the expiration of two years from the date of his sentence, or the expiration of six months from the date of his being taken into custody under the order, whichever is the later, and, if at large, shall be deemed to be unlawfully at large:
§ Provided that—
- (a) any such order shall, at the expiration of two years from the date of his release, cease to have effect unless the person to whom it relates is then in custody there-under; and
- (b) the Prison Commissioners may at any time release a person who is detained in a borstal institution under this subsection; and the provisions of subsection (3) of this section and the preceding provisions of this subsection shall apply on his release under this paragraph as they apply in the case of his original release, except that the references to the period of two years from the date of his release shall be construed as references to the period of two years from the date of his original release.
§ (5) If any person while under supervision, or after his recall to a borstal institution, as aforesaid, or after being ordered to be returned to a borstal institution under section twelve of the Criminal Justice Act, 1960, is sentenced by a court in any part of Great Britain to corrective training or borstal training, his original sentence of borstal training shall cease to have effect.
§ (6) The Prison Commissioners in exercising their functions under this section shall consider any report made to them by a board of visitors on the advisability of releasing a person from a borstal institution.")—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.