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Injured Prisoners (Compensation)

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 30 November 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made for a man who sustains, while serving a prison sentence, an injury which prevents him permanently from following any employment after his discharge.

The National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Acts do not apply to injuries sustained in prison employment, but it is the practice of my Department to make an ex-gratia payment equivalent to the award which would have been made under the Acts if they had been applicable. Cases of non-industrial injury differ so widely in their nature and effects that each case has to be treated on its merits: compensation is sometimes given by way of special remission of sentence, though the possibility of an ex-gratia payment in an appropriate case is not excluded, and the injured prisoner also has his remedies at law. There is no record of a prisoner having sustained during his sentence an injury resulting in total and permanent disablement.

Is the Minister aware that I have a case of a man who was injured while working in prison, who, after being discharged, developed tuberculosis of the spine as the result of the injury? Is it not possible for this man to be dealt with under the Industrial Injuries Act, since he sustained the injury while following his employment?

No, Sir. It is not possible to put a man under the Industrial Injuries Act, because there is no contract of employment between the Prison Commissioners and the prisoner, but if my hon. Friend will see me privately I will be very pleased to discuss with him any case where hardship appears to have been inflicted.