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Remand Homes And Approved Schools (Punishment)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 29 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the infliction of corporal punishment in remand homes and approved schools has declined or increased during the past year; in how many cases during that period inmates have absconded and how many have subsequently been apprehended; and what further consideration has been given to the question of discipline, treatment and punishment in those institutions.

The number of occasions on which corporal punishment was administered in remand homes and approved schools in 1953 was about 4 per cent, more than in 1952. The number of abscondings in 1953 was 2,236; I have no reason to believe that more than a very few absconders were not recovered.

The question of discipline, treatment and punishment in remain homes and approved schools is kept under constant review.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman not appreciate that this is a matter which should be more than reviewed constantly? Is it not one which needs special inquiry in view of the more enlightened opinions about the treatment and discipline in these institutions?

The hon. Member will recall that the Franklin Committee reported in December, 1951, on punishments in approved schools and remand homes. It considered that the existing powers to give corporal punishment were necessary and that the safeguards against the excessive use of this form of punishment were generally satisfactory. Since then, as I have said, the conditions on which it reported have been kept under constant review. If the hon. Member has any specific point to make I shall be very glad to consider it.

Am I not right in stating that in some of the best-managed remand homes corporal punishment is very rarely administered?

That must be a matter for the authorities of the remand home. I cannot answer for specific remand homes. I think that is the proper combination: we have a Report, we keep it under review, and the operation is in the hands of the authorities of the home.