Mr. Compton Carr
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received the Report of the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders on Preventive Detention; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Brooke
I have received this Report, and it is being published today. Copies will be available in the Vote 223W Office. I am grateful to the Council for the careful consideration which they have given to this matter.
The Council recommend that preventive detention should be abolished, but that, with a view to the continued protection of the public against the persistent criminal—a matter which the Council emphasise that they have kept in the forefront of their deliberations—the powers of the courts to deal with persistent offenders by long sentences of ordinary imprisonment should be strengthened. I shall give careful consideration to these recommendations. Legislation would be required to implement them.
Meanwhile I accept the Advisory Council's interim recommendation that in future all preventive detainees should, subject to good conduct, be eligible for release after serving two-thirds of their sentence, and I propose to give effect to it by an amendment of the Prison Rules, a draft of which I am laying before Parliament today. It is proposed that these Rules, which are required to lie in draft for forty days, shall come into force on 20th March. Those prisoners who will have already served at least two-thirds of their sentence by that date will then become eligible, subject to good conduct, for immediate discharge.