asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many young persons were committed to prison before trial during 1961 because of the lack of remand home or remand centre accommodation.
Figures are not available for the whole of 1961, but for the six months from 1st September last 1,042 persons between 17 and 21 years were committed to prison before trial who could have been committed to remand centres had they been available.
That is a most serious statement. Can the Secretary of State indicate by what right and under what Statute these young people are detained in Barlinnie Prison and other prisons on remand before trial? Will he take action to ensure that this practice stops and that the stigma attaching to these young people, who may be declared innocent when they come to trial, is completely removed?
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is very desirable that proper accommodation should be available. A remand centre at Polmont, en- tirely separate from the borstal institution, will be opened probably at the beginning of August. We are proposing to erect a fully equipped remand centre at Larbert, but it will be a little time before it is built.
This is a very serious matter, as my hon. Friend has said. Cannot the Secretary of State speed up work on these remand centres, because it is intolerable that young people should be sent to prison even before their trial?
I am very anxious that this work should go forward as quickly as possible.