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Judicial CP - November 1960

Corpun file 21654


Daily Mirror, London, 14 November 1960

Bid to bring back flogging

By William Greig

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PRESSURE on the Government to bring back corporal punishment is increasing.

Some Tory Back Bench MPs claim there is a majority on their side of the House in favour of this move.

But so far they have been unable to convince the Home Secretary, Mr. R.A. Butler, that their opinion is shared by the general public.

The matter will be raised on Thursday, when the Criminal Justice Bill is debated.

It will be argued that flogging is the punishment which would stop the wave of violent assaults by young hooligans.

The Home Office Advisory Committee which was asked by Mr. Butler to investigate corporal punishment, will present its report this week.

The committee is understood to be strongly AGAINST bringing back flogging.

An attempt to raised the subject at the Conservative Party's annual Conference last month was sidetracked.

But rank and file pressure on Mr. Butler is still growing.

Corpun file 21655


Daily Express, London, 18 November 1960

Give the birch a 5-year trial, Butler is urged

But he objects: There is no assurance it would help

Express Parliamentary Reporter William Barkley

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IT seemed hopeless, but Sir Thomas Moore (Tory, Ayr) gamely appealed in the Commons last night to Mr. R.A. Butler, the Home Secretary, to restore corporal punishment. Hopeless because Mr. Butler, moving the second reading of his Criminal Justice Bill, had just refused to do so.

Mr. Butler was supported by the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders, which reported a week ago.

"The argument I regard as most cogent," he said, "Is the council's view that there can be no assurance that corporal punishment would substantially reduce crime or afford protection to the potential victims.

"They confirm the Government's view."

Sir Thomas later challenged Mr. Butler to test this opinion.

He and Tory backbenchers for whom he spoke believed that the courts should have in reserve the power to order the cane for criminals under 17 and the birch for the over 17's.

"Give us a trial period of five years or 10 years," he asked.

"If the figures of crimes of violence go up we shall say that we have failed."


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On the present increase in violence, he said: "The reason for these crimes is apparently totally different today from what it was. They may be done for excitement or for frustrated lust or even for the fun of it.

"Crimes of violence are often committed today without robbery.

"The Advisory Council ignores altogether the dramatic changes in social conditions between 1933 and today."

Sir Thomas said since he first moved to restore the birch in 1957 he has received 800 letters -- 43 in the last few days -- and only 11 were against his view.

"It is far more important," he said, "to deter the criminal from committing his crime than to reform him after he has committed it.

"Today we have a humanitarian Home Secretary for whom I have the greatest admiration. But the whole country knows of his humanitarian instincts and is rather imbued with that sensitiveness to crime that he has.

"Parents refuse to chastise their children when they misbehave. Schoolmasters refuse to punish children who misbehave because they are frightened of parents taking action against them.


"It is a very sobering thought that those two young men might not have been hanged last Thursday if they had been chastised when they started misbehaving."

Mr. Gordon Walker (Lab., Smethwick) congratulated Mr. Butler on excluding "flogging" from his Bill. Sir Thomas Moore interrupted to say:

"Don't use 'flogging' but say 'corporal punishment.'"

Mr. Gordon Walker: "I said flogging, and I repeat, flogging."

All this is about something that is not in the Bill. What is in it? Mr. Butler himself described it as "small."

But it revolutionises the treatment of young offenders -- aiming at fines or detention in Borstal or other centres where they will get "energetic and pressing forms of discipline" rather than imprisonment, which is reserved for only the most serious offences.

But it will be the end of next year before the new detention centres are completed.

Mr. Butler also for the first time is introducing compulsory after-care for prisoners, and he said: "We hope to achieve results of great value in stopping recidivism -- in plain English, return to prison."

But above all in treating crime Mr. Butler put most emphasis on bringing the police force up to strength, "and to see also that police relations with the public are such that they can rely on public support."


Mr. Gordon Walker's criticism of these proposals was that the Government has not recruited enough probation officers to carry out the after-care.

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And as to keeping juveniles out of prison, "you build office blocks all over the country but no detention centres or remand centres.

"Because we have no remand centres we have the terrible scandal that last year 4,585 juveniles were held for a period in prison although they were not subsequently convicted."

He thought, while Tories scoffed at him, that the huge increase in crime is encouraged by the Tory Government spreading false values of material success.

"Commercial TV plays a part in all this," he added. "We have this new advertising instrument which spreads the idea that your main aim should be an easy life without effort.

"I think TV advertisements for drink, for example, are being directed more and more to younger and younger people.

"This is the sort of thing which helps to create a wrong social environment."

Sir Thomas Moore got in a neat last shot. He asked Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller, the Attorney-General: "Is there going to be corporal punishment in the detention centres?"

Sir Reginald hesitated and did not seem sure. But he said: "There certainly is at approved schools and Borstal."

The day I was whacked -- by Sir Reginald

THE Old Etonian Attorney-General, Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller, revealed in the Commons last night that he underwent corporal punishment at Eton at the hands of Mr. Robert Turton (Tory, Thirsk and Malton) -- who, as a boy two years his senior, had power to cane him.

It seemed that many M.P.s turned with admiration towards Mr. Turton.

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Sir Reginald said he did not find the punishment had a deterrent or reforming influence on him. It was not that experience that made him support the birch in the debate of 1948.

"My argument then was that judges could impose a shorter prison sentence on young offenders if they sentenced them to corporal punishment as well," he said.

"That argument now falls to the ground, because under this Bill when it comes into operation few young offenders will be sent to prison at all."

Corpun file 21653


Daily Express, London, 25 November 1960

Try this idea on caning says M.P.

Express parliamentary Reporter

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THE demand for a return to the use of the cane against violent crime was renewed in the Commons yesterday by Colonel Richard Glyn (Tory, Dorset North).

Tory M.P.s cheered him when, having established the fact that the courts have not been able to order caning of youths under 17 for violence without robbery in the past 50 years, he said:--

"If the courts were to be given that power to cane young thugs, it would be a new experiment in penology, and not a reversion to an old system which has been tried and failed."

What Sir Richard was getting at, of course, was the view of the Home Secretary's expert committee that to bring back corporal punishment would put the clock back.

No room

He also taxed the Home Office for the continuing shortage of detention centres, eight of which are to be built.

He complained: "It is now harder to get a delinquent into a detention centre than a normal boy into a public school."

He added: "It is essential that every court must have an adequate deterrent of some kind or another to protect the public against these thugs."

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