(1) The term for which a person may be sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution under Section one of the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908, shall not be less than two years, and accordingly "two years" shall be substituted for "one year" in Sub-section (1) of Section one of that Act.
(2) The period for which a person sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution is on the expiration of the term of his sentence to remain under the supervision of the Prison Commissioners shall be one year, and accordingly "one year" year shall be substituted for "six months" in Sub-section (1) of Section six of the same Act.
(3) The maximum period for which a person so under the supervision of the Prison Commissioners may on recall to a Borstal institution be detained in such an institution shall be one year, and he may be so detained notwithstanding that the period of supervision has expired, and accordingly "one year" shall be substituted for "three months" in Sub-section (2) of Section six of that Act.
(4) The provisions of Part I. of the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908, as so amended, shall apply to persons sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution under this Act in like manner as they apply to persons sentenced under that Part of that Act.
I beg to move that the Clause be omitted.
This Clause seeks to prevent young offenders being sent to Borstal for less than two years, and thereby, in the generality of cases, it will increase the sentences from one to two, and from two to three years. The argument in favour of it is, that Borstal treatment for one year is not good enough, that you do not get the really perfect article under two or three years, and that, therefore, the short sentences are not right, From the point of view of the interests of society that is a strong argument. I do not think that we ought to look at this question simply from the point of view of the welfare of society, and the excellence of the product. We ought also to look at it from the point of view as to whether it is just to the criminal who has been convicted of an offence. I may have had no experience of these Borstal institutions, and may therefore be considered a person who should not utter a word as to the conditions in which poor people in this country can be sent to these institutions. But the House should consider the matter from the point of view of the individual sentenced by the magistrate, and not from the point of view as to whether it is in the general interests of society. You have enlarged the power of magistrates under Clause 10 of this Bill, and now you also wish to take away from magistrates the power to send anyone to Borstal for less than two years. If magistrates have these views as to the value of Borstal training, which were expressed to-day, I know perfectly well that there will not be fewer persons sent to Borstal, and that in nearly every case the minimum will be raised from one year to two years, and possibly from two years to three. I am against this increasing of punishment, and then saying that it is no punishment, and I am against this sort of State training of what are called the lower orders, because the yturn out such admirable products. I want to have fewer State institutions, and more justice before magistrates, and I would say that you should get a few more magistrates with proper Courts so that the people could be tried decently, and that that would be better than giving magistrates wider powers than they possess at present.
I beg to second the Amendment.
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
I think that we are entitled to a reply from the Under-Secretary.
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), after the word "person," to insert the words "or youthful offender." This Amendment is moved at the suggestion of the London County Council and—
To save time, may I say that the Government accept the Amendment of the hon. Member and also the two other Amendments which stand next on the Paper.
As I have been asked what this Amendment means, I may explain in one or two sentences. Under the Prevention of Crimes Act there are two classes of young persons, those guilty of particular offences and others who have already gone to reformatories, and who may be subsequently convicted and liable to Borstal treatment. This second class is, I imagine inadvertently, excluded from the scope of this Bill. It is with the object of bringing in that second class that I move the Amendment standing in my name.
Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made: After the word "one" ["under Section one"], insert the words "or Section two."—[ Mr. Hoare.]
After the word "one" ["of Section one"], insert the words "and in Section two respectively."—[ Mr. Hoare.]
New powers of Dealing with Offenders.