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Prison Rules

Volume 897: debated on Saturday 16 August 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on the reform of prison rules.

I am currently examining a number of areas of prison administration. In particular I hope shortly to lay amending rules resulting from the Golder case.

Is the Minister aware that there was confidence and expectation that there would be considerable investigation of the rules on the censorship of prisoners' letters resulting from the decision in the Golder case, and that there is profound regret at the restrictive interpretation which the Minister has placed on that judgment? Does the Minister agree that a more liberal approach to the censorship of prisoners' letters is desirable in the terms of the spirit of the Golder judgment, which has much to commend it and against which there is little argument of substance?

We have met the criticisms contained in the Golder judgment, as far as they go, in full. We are considering what lies on the frontier of that judgment. I am anxious to make progress in this area and to do so in a liberal way. It is important in these matters to take account of the views—but not necessarily to be wholly governed by them—of those who operate the prison service. I must do that and pay due regard to that while endeavouring to maintain a firm liberal sense of direction.