1913: 3 & 4 George 5 c.4: Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act

1913: 3 & 4 George 5 c.4: Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act

An Act to provide for the Temporary Discharge of Prisoners whose further detention in prison is undesirable on account of the condition of their Health.

[25th April 1913.]

Be it enacted by the King’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 :

1.—(1) If the Secretary of State is satisfied that by reason of the condition of a prisoner’s health it is undesirable to detain him in prison, but that, such condition of health being due in whole or in part to the prisoner’s own conduct in prison, it is desirable that his release should be temporary and conditional only, the Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, by order authorise the temporary discharge of the prisoner for such period and subject to such conditions as may be stated in the order.

(2) Any prisoner so discharged shall comply with any conditions stated in the order of temporary discharge, and shall return to prison at the expiration of the period stated in the order, or of such extended period as may be fixed by any subsequent order of the Secretary of State, and, if the prisoner fails so to comply or return, he may be arrested without warrant and taken back to prison.

(3) Where a prisoner under sentence is discharged in pursuance of an order of temporary discharge, the currency of the sentence shall be suspended from the day on which he is discharged from prison under the order to the day on which he is received back into prison, so that the former day shall be reckoned and the latter shall not be reckoned as part of the sentence.

(4) Where an order of temporary discharge is made in the case of a prisoner not under sentence, the order shall contain conditions requiring the attendance of the prisoner at any further proceedings on his case at which his presence may be required.

2.—(1) Where the prisoner is undergoing a sentence of penal servitude, the powers under this Act shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the power of granting licences under the Penal Servitude Acts, 1853 to 1891.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall affect the duties of the medical officer of a prison in respect of a prisoner whom the Secretary of State does not think fit to discharge under this Act.

3. In the application of this Act to Scotland and Ireland, references to the Secretary of State shall be construed as references to the Secretary for Scotland and the Lord Lieutenant respectively.

4. This Act may be cited as the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-health) Act, 1913.


Brought in to deal with suffragette prisoners on hunger strike, this act became known as the ‘Cat and Mouse Act.’

Source: Irish Statute Book, checked against page images at Parliament.uk

Further information: Wikipedia

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