Maxwell (Birching Award)

46. Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date he was informed by the visiting magistrates of the birching sentence on Roger Keith Maxwell; and on what date he made known his decision that the punishment should not be carried out.

Mr. Roy Jenkins
I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave on 19th October to a Question by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells). [Vol. 734, c.55.]

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he refused to confirm the sentence of birching recommended by the visiting magistrates in the case of Roger Maxwell in respect of his assault on a prison officer; what alternative penalty he has imposed; what is his policy in respect of such recommended punishments; and what communications he has received about his decision from the representatives of prison officers.

Mr. Roy Jenkins
Each case is considered on its merits. In Maxwell’s case it was clear that on medical grounds, independent of any other considerations, I should not have been justified in confirming this award. Maxwell has already been kept in conditions of solitary confinement, except for the two sessions a week when he undergoes psychiatric treatment, for 79 days, and this will be continued as long as is thought necessary.

I have discussed the case fully with representatives of the Prison Officers’ Association.