The Ministry of Justice will review the use of restraint in secure training centres in response to a call from the coroner in the inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood.
Justice minister Baroness Ashton said the ministery would carry out an urgent review as recommended by Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle, in response to a question in the House of Lords yesterday.
Adam was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, Durham, in August 2004, aged 14. On the day of his death he was restrained by four male staff using the controversial “nose distraction” technique, which involves giving an inmate a “karate chop” to the nose.
The use of restraint in youth custody, and in STCs in particular, remains controversial.
Fifteen-year-old Gareth Myatt died at Rainsbrook STC in April 2004, aged 15, after he was retrained using the now banned double-seated embrace technique. The inquest into his death has been adjourned until July.
Last February, Liberal Democrat peer and QC Lord Carlile slammed the use of restraint in custody in a report for the Howard League for Penal Reform, prompted by Myatt’s death.
The report criticised the inconsistent monitoring of restraint and recommended one set of restraint techniques across the secure estate. Currently, different techniques are permitted in STCs, young offender institutions and local authority secure children’s homes.
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