Physical restraint should only be used on young people in prison as a “last resort,” according to guidance for staff issued this week by the Youth Justice Board.
The YJB’s code comes ahead of the publication of an independent inquiry into the use of physical restraint in child prisons by Lord Carlile QC later this month.
YJB chair Rod Morgan said staff should be taught to use more “social and psychological” methods of managing young people’s behaviour including the use of incentives.
John Fayle, the YJB’s head of policy for the secure estate, said the guidance would help to develop common methods of recording and using physical restraint, as these varied widely across institutions.
Carlile’s inquiry was sparked by the death of 15-year-old young offender Gareth Myatt after he was restrained by three staff at Rainsbrook secure training centre in Northampton in April 2004.
It was revealed last year that staff at England’s four STCs used controversial techniques to restrain young people nearly 800 times during a 12-month period, leading to 51 injuries, according to figures obtained by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (Charity coalition slams).
An inspection report on Brinsford young offender institution last year found inmates experienced “high” levels of force and found there was “no evidence” that the incidents were being effectively monitored.