Youthful Offenders.

News of the World, London, 1 April 1900

Imperial Parliament.

Youthful Offenders.

HOUSE OF LORDS, Tuesday — Lord James of Hereford, moving the third reading of the Youthful Offenders Bill, stated that a meeting of Chairmen and Deputy-Chairmen of Quarter Sessions had had the measure under consideration and had suggested an amendment, the effect of which was that the magistrate should have power in any case they thought right not to impose a fine but in substitution to direct that the youthful offender should be whipped. The Bill as drawn only gave power of whipping in lieu of imprisonment, and if the amendment were accepted it would be going far beyond the object of the measure, which was to keep youthful offenders out of prison. Therefore as at present advised he did not think it would be expedient to accept the amendment. — The Bill was read a third time and passed.

[…]

Corporal Punishment.

Press cuttingHOUSE OF COMMONS, Wednesday. — Mr. Wharton, in moving the second reading of the Corporal Punishment Bill, said that it was precisely the same measure as that which in 1889 passed the second reading by a large majority — namely, 194 to 126. It was both a repealing and an enacting Bill. It proposed to repeal three old Acts — two English and one Irish — under which flogging was inflicted for offences in regard to which that punishment was in the present day repugnant to common-sense — such, for instance, as the offence of unlawfully collecting alms and of betting in a public place (Laughter.)

But the Bill provided for the retention of the punishment of the lash in the case of garrotting. It provided in the first place for the flogging of juveniles, and it also substituted the punishment of whipping for burglary when committed by persons armed. He proposed that when any male person under the age of 16 was convicted before any Court of summary jurisdiction of any offence lawfully punishable by penal servitude or imprisonment with hard labour, the Court should be empowered to direct that such person be once privately whipped with a birch rod.

The Bill further provided that when any male person was convicted of burglary, if armed with any dangerous or offensive weapon, of garrotting or other aggravated offences set forth in a schedule the Court might direct the offender to be once, twice or thrice privately whipped with an instrument specified in the sentence.

Other clauses provided that the whipping might be in addition to or in lieu of other punishment; that the number of strokes at each whipping should not exceed twenty-five, and that every whipping must be within six months of the sentence, and in the presence of the gaoler and surgeon of the prison.

Mr Lloyd Morgan moved the rejection of the measure.

Sir Matthew White Ridley said the main point to be considered was that of increasing the power of flogging, especially for offences directed against the honour of women and children, coupled with personal violence. Everyone believed that these offences ought to be put down with a strong hand, but the proposals of the Bill could not be regarded as a desirable change in the law.

With regard to juvenile offenders, he was responsible for a Bill intended to prevent the sending of boys to prison, and to substitute the punishment of the birch where the offenders could be treated in a summary manner. (Hear, hear.)

If there was an epidemic of serious offences which could only be dealt with in one way he believed that Parliament and the country would be prepared to undertake the responsibility and wipe out that particular offence.

In Liverpool a great deal of good was effected by the Garrotting Act, but it was not proved that the passing of the Act had been strictly deterrent. Certainly as regarded London, garrotting had been put down before the passing of that Act. (Hear, hear.) Having regard to the doubt as to whether flogging was deterrent, he had no hesitation in saying he did not desire this Bill should be given a second reading. (Cheers.)

On a division the Bill was thrown out.