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First Offenders (Probation)

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 24 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied that the binding over of first offenders, particularly with reference to juveniles, as laid down in the Probation of First Offenders Act recommendations. is being satisfactorily adhered to

I have no grounds for thinking there is any general failure to make full use of the Probation of Offenders Act, particularly as regards juvenile offenders. In 1946 there were 28,700 boys under 14 found guilty of offences by magistrates' courts. Of these, 12 were ordered to be birched, 8,800 were placed under the supervision of probation officers, and 11,800 were dealt with under the other provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act.

In view of the fact that many courts have adopted the recommendations, will not my right hon. Friend now circulate the recommendations to all courts to emphasise this mattes again?

A court has to deal with the case before it, and there may be certain cases in which it is undesirable that a binding over should take place. I cannot recommend magistrates to adopt any hard and fast rule, but I advise them to listen to the evidence, to have regard to the standard of conduct generally observed in courts, and to act accordingly