Human rights committee to investigate restraint

The use of restraint on children held in secure training centres will be investigated by the parliamentary joint committee on human rights.

The committee is calling for evidence on whether the use of force against child prisoners is compatible with international human rights standards.

Andrew Dismore MP, the committee’s chair, recently wrote to justice minister Bridget Prentice criticising the government’s decision to extend staff powers to restrain children in secure training centres.

He said a statutory instrument amending STC rules to allow staff to use restraint for reasons of “good order and discipline”, had been introduced “with practically no reference” to human rights legislation.

Before the rules were amended last month, STC staff could only restrain children at risk of harm or escape.

In reply prisons minister David Hanson told the committee he was “quite confident” the rules were in accord with the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

More information

Joint committee on human rights

Joint committee on human rights letter to Bridget Prentice

David Hanson letter to the joint committee on human rights

Secure Training Centre (Amendment) Rules 2007

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