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Borstal Institutions (Films)

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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5.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why a Borstal boy, aged 18, was taken under escort to see the film "A Street Car Named Desire" at Hull, Yorkshire, on or about 13th March; and if, in view of the sordid and degrading nature of this film, he will investigate the mental and moral qualifications of those charged with the administration of the institution in which this boy was detained.

It is usual for selected senior boys in Borstal institutions to be allowed as a privilege to visit a cinema or other place of entertainment from time to time. At Hull the practice is for members of the staff who are visiting the cinema in their off-duty hours to be allowed to take with them two inmates who have qualified for this privilege. The choice of film in this particular case may have been unfortunate, but I do not think the incident calls for any further action on my part.

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say which official of the institution was responsible for taking this boy to see the film?

I should like to make it clear that the boys pay for themselves out of their earnings. The privilege is much valued by those of the special grade, and is a great incentive to raising the standard of work and conduct. I really do not think it is necessary for me to name the official concerned.

18.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities are available for boys at Borstal institutes to see films either of an educational or recreational character.

Arrangements vary from one institution to another, but on average there is a programme of educational films about once a week and of recreational films about twice a month.