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Unofficial Visitors

Volume 393: debated on Thursday 4 November 1943

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38.

asked the Home Secretary the daily average population of the prisons of England and Wales at the present time and the number of unofficial visitors actively and regularly engaged in visiting; and whether he can state, approximately, the proportion of prisoners visited by unofficial visitors?

The daily average population for the year ending 31st March, 1943, was 12,640. Though precise figures are not yet available, the daily average population for this year is probably about 12,800. The number of unofficial prison visitors who are actively engaged in visiting prisoners is 484, but it is not possible to say how regularly they are able to visit or what proportion of prisoners receive visits.

In view of the small number of visitors and of the increased number of prisoners and the fact that they are now left alone in the cells for long hours in view of the cessation of educational work, could the Minister arrange for the number of visitors to be increased?

On the face of it, I do not see why there should not be more visitors, if we could get them, but it will be a problem to find them, I am afraid.