Prison Act 1952

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1952 c. 52


Prison Act , 1952

(15 & 16 Geo. 6 & 1 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 52

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to prisons and other institutions for offenders and related matters with corrections and improvements made under the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act, 1949.

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Central administration

Central administration

S-1 General control over prisons.

1 General control over prisons.

All powers and jurisdiction in relation to prisons and prisoners which before the commencement of the Prison Act, 1877 were exercisable by any other authority shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be exercisable by the Secretary of State.

S-2 The Prison Commissioners.

2 The Prison Commissioners.

(1) Her Majesty may, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State, by warrant under the sign manual appoint persons to be Commissioners during Her Majesty's pleasure for the purpose of assisting the Secretary of State in the performance of his functions relating to prisons.

(2) The number of Commissioners so appointed shall not at any time exceed five.

(3) There may be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament to the Commissioners so appointed such salaries as the Secretary of State may with the consent of the Treasury determine.

(4) The Commissioners so appointed shall be a body corporate with power to hold land so far as may be necessary for the purposes of this Act and shall be called the Prison Commissioners.

(5) The Secretary of State may appoint one of the Prison Commissioners to be their chairman.

(6) Anything required or authorised to be done by the Prison Commissioners may, if the Secretary of State so directs either generally or in any special case, be done by any one or more of them.

(7) The Prison Commissioners shall exercise their functions in accordance with any general or special directions of the Secretary of State.

S-3 Officers and servants of Prison Commissioners.

3 Officers and servants of Prison Commissioners.

(1) The Secretary of State may appoint such inspectors and the Prison Commissioners may, with the approval of the Secretary of State, appoint such other officers and servants of the Prison Commissioners as the Secretary of State may, with the sanction of the Treasury as to number, determine.

(2) There shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament to the inspectors and other officers and servants of the Prison Commissioners such salaries as the Secretary of State may with the consent of the Treasury determine.

S-4 General duties of Prison Commissioners.

4 General duties of Prison Commissioners.

(1) The Prison Commissioners shall have the general superintendence of prisons and shall make the contracts and do the other acts necessary for the maintenance of prisons and the maintenance of prisoners.

(2) The Prison Commissioners, by themselves or their officers, shall visit all prisons and examine the state of buildings, the conduct of officers, the treatment and conduct of prisoners and all other matters concerning the management of prisons and shall ensure that the provisions of this Act and of any rules made under this Act are duly complied with.

(3) The Prison Commissioners may exercise all powers and jurisdiction exercisable at common law, by Act of Parliament, or by charter by visiting justices of a prison.

S-5 Annual report of Prison Commissioners.

5 Annual report of Prison Commissioners.

(1) The Prison Commissioners shall make to the Secretary of State an annual report on every prison and the Secretary of State shall lay the report before Parliament.

(2) The report shall contain—

( a ) a statement of the accommodation of each prison and the daily average and highest number of prisoners confined therein;

( b ) such particulars of the work done by prisoners in each prison, including the kind and quantities of articles produced and the number of prisoners employed, as may in the opinion of the Secretary of State give the best information to Parliament;

( c ) a statement of the punishments inflicted in each prison and of the offences for which they were inflicted, with particulars of every case in which an order for corporal punishment was made and of the grounds upon which it was made.

Visiting committees and boards of visitors

Visiting committees and boards of visitors

S-6 Visiting committees and boards of visitors.

6 Visiting committees and boards of visitors.

(1) Rules made under section forty-seven of this Act shall provide for the constitution, for prisons to which persons may be committed directly by a court, of visiting committees consisting of justices of the peace appointed at such times, in such manner and for such periods as may be prescribed by the rules, by such courts of quarter sessions for counties or benches of magistrates for boroughs as the Secretary of State may by order direct.

(2) The Secretary of State shall appoint for every prison other than a prison mentioned in subsection (1) of this section a board of visitors of whom not less than two shall be justices of the peace.

(3) Rules made as aforesaid shall prescribe the functions of visiting committees and boards of visitors and shall among other things require members to pay frequent visits to the prison and hear any complaints which may be made by the prisoners and report to the Secretary of State any matter which they consider it expedient to report; and any member of a visiting committee or board of visitors may at any time enter the prison and shall have free access to every part of it and to every prisoner.

(4) Rules made as aforesaid may require the board of visitors appointed for any prison to consider periodically the character, conduct and prospects of each of the prisoners sentenced to corrective training or preventive detention and to report to the Prison Commissioners on the advisability of his release on licence.

Prison officers

Prison officers

S-7 Prison officers.

7 Prison officers.

(1) Every prison shall have a governor, a chaplain and a medical officer and such other officers as may be necessary.

(2) Every prison in which women are received shall have a sufficient number of women officers; and if women only are received in a prison the governor shall be a woman.

(3) A prison which in the opinion of the Secretary of State is large enough to require it may have a deputy governor or an assistant chaplain or both.

(4) The chaplain and any assistant chaplain shall be a clergyman of the Church of England and the medical officer shall be duly registered under the Medical Acts.

(5) Governors, chaplains and medical officers shall be appointed by the Secretary of State and other officers by the Prison Commissioners.

S-8 Powers of prison officers.

8 Powers of prison officers.

Every prison officer while acting as such shall have all the powers, authority, protection and privileges of a constable.

S-9 Exercise of office of chaplain.

9 Exercise of office of chaplain.

(1) A person shall not officiate as chaplain of two prisons unless the prisons are within convenient distance of each other and are together designed to receive not more than one hundred prisoners.

(2) Notice of the nomination of a chaplain or assistant chaplain to a prison shall, within one month after it is made, be given to the bishop of the diocese in which the prison is situate; and the chaplain or assistant chaplain shall not officiate in the prison except under the authority of a licence from the bishop.

S-10 Appointment of prison ministers.

10 Appointment of prison ministers.

(1) Where in any prison the number of prisoners who belong to a religious denomination other than the Church of England is such as in the opinion of the Secretary of State to require the appointment of a minister of that denomination, the Secretary of State may appoint such a minister to that prison.

(2) The Secretary of State may pay a minister appointed under the preceding subsection such remuneration as he thinks reasonable.

(3) The Prison Commissioners may allow a minister of any denomination other than the Church of England to visit prisoners of his denomination in a prison to which no minister of that denomination has...

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