No batons for child inmates, YJB chief says

Writes Maria Ahmed

The chief executive of the Youth Justice Board has rejected calls to allow prison officers to use batons on child inmates.

Graham Robb said there was “no evidence” to suggest that using batons on children as young as 15 would give staff greater protection against assault.

Robb made the comments after the Prison Officer’s Association today called for the current policy of using batons on inmates aged 18 and over to be extended to juveniles, arguing that staff needed more protection.

Recent figures published by the Howard League for Penal Reform showed there were 2,542 assaults by prisoners against officers in young offender institutions between 2003 and 2006.

In response, the Ministry of Justice said it would review the baton policy. An MoJ spokewoman said this would form part of a “periodic review to ensure procedures are appropriate” but she added: “The Youth Justice Board have not indicated this is a policy they wish to change.”

Robb said: “I remain to be convinced that using batons on younger people will make the jobs of staff working with young people in custody easier. I would prefer to see a greater focus on training staff to manage difficult behaviour and to de-escalate situations before they turn violent.”

More information

Youth Justice Board

Prison Officer’s Association

Ministry of Justice

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