Changes to rules governing the use of restraint on children in secure training centres are being challenged in the High Court.
The case of a child, AC, is being brought as a judicial review test case on the secure training centre (STC) rules that were introduced by the government in July.
These rules widened the circumstances in which restraint could be used in STCs, which are privately-run child prisons, from preventing injury, damage to property or escape to the maintenance of “good order and discipline.”
The Secure Training Centre (Amendment) Rules 2007 were introduced following the inquests of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood and 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, who both died in secure training centres. Both inquests heard that staff regularly restrained children to secure compliance.
Speaking at the start of today’s court hearing, Deborah Coles, co-director of campaign group Inquest, said the government had changed the law “to make it more permissable to restrain children”.
She added: “In our view this change amounts to sanctioned child abuse against some of society’s most vulnerable children, which we fear will lead to more restraint, damage and harm to children and ultimately more deaths.”