Catholic Herald Correspondent
FAR-REACHING proposals for penal reform are likely to result from the recent formation of the Penal Reform Committee, the brainchild of a 31-year-old Catholic company director, Peter Lyden-Cowan. He is the prospective Liberal candidate for Clapham.
f The most controversial reform urged suggests "introducing a system of suspended sentences". This is a continental practice, and considerable successes have been achieved. according to Mr. Lyden-Cowan. He admits, however, that there could be strong opposition in legal circles to the introduction of this system here.
Probation officers. penologists, and ex-prisoners all serve on the committee. as well as representatives of the political parties, including Mr. Eric Lubbock, M.P. for Orpington, who has recently made a number of speeches in the Commons on prisons and prisoners. Mr. Lydon-Cowan and his wife are the only Catholic members.
For Mr Lyden-Cowan, the Penal Reform Committee is the logical consequence of his deep interest in rehabilitation work, Over the last eighteen months, a number of ex-prisoners have stayed at his Putney home, and have been helped to find good jobs. Mr. Lydon-Cowan last week described this experiment as "Largely satisfactory".
The first public discussion of the new proposals is likely to take place at this year's Liberal Assembly, to be held in Brighton during September. Three constituency Liberal Parties, including Mr. Lyden-Cowan's own association at Clapham, have tabled a twelvepoint resolution.
It asks that "no person he sentenced to imprisonment before the court had considered a report by a Probation Officer on the offender" and calls for a "greater use of alternatives to imprisonment", as well as calling for an examination of the possibility of suspended sentences.
Liberal Associations all over the country are at the moment balloting for the motions which they wish to appear in the final agenda for the Assembly. Mr. LydonCowan told me this week that he thought his resolution has an "excellent chance" of being included.
Beaumont holds open-day for handicapped
Catholic Herald Reporter
BEAUMONT College, at Old Windsor. Berks., entertained some 300 handicapped children and their parents on Sunday, when the Handicapped Children's Pilrimage Trust held its sixth annual re-union at the college.
Boys of the college helped to serve a picnic tea for the children, and showed them round the college. The college's cadet force turned out with a drum and pipe band. And lantern slides of handicapped children at Lourdes were given a special showing in the college hall, followed by Benediction.
It was the biggest re-union of its kind held at the college. When the first re-union was held, in 1958, the party of handicapped children numbered only 40. There were 150 at last year's.
The Catholic Motoring Club will he holding its annual meeting this Sunday at St. Mary's Training College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, preceded by Mass at 12 noon and the blessing of cars at 2.15. On the agenda is a recommendation that a grant of 20 gns. be made to the Southwark Travelling Mission out of club funds.