The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has agreed to disclose a manual containing details of controversial techniques used to restrain children in secure training centres (STCs).
The 114-page booklet governs the use of physical restraint in the four privately-run STCs and includes descriptions of distraction techniques to deliberately inflict pain on young offenders who are being restrained.
In January the YJB appealed against a ruling by the information commissioner that details from the manual should be released under a Freedom of Information request from the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE).
The YJB claimed disclosure could prejudice security. However, today a spokesperson said the YJB would release Physical Control in Care, the manual used by instructors who train secure training centre custody officers to use restraint safely.
The spokesperson added that it was “possible” the manual could be published more widely later.
Carolyne Willow, CRAE’s national co-ordinator, said there had been “a compulsive reliance on secrecy and an absolute failure to face up publicly to the disgraceful and unlawful treatment of children the state officially describes as vulnerable”. She urged the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, to order an independent judicial inquiry into STCs since 1998.
The Prison Reform Trust called for the use of force in child prisons to be ended immediately.