MPs urged to reject new restraint powers for staff

Campaigners are pressing for a parliamentary debate on staff powers to restrain young offenders in secure training centres.

Under recent proposals from the Ministry of Justice, staff in secure training centres will be able to restrain children to enforce “good order and discipline”.

The secure training centre rules currently allow restraint to prevent harm to detainees, escape or damage to property.

The proposal came after the recent inquest into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where the coroner called for a review of the use of restraint.

Last week, a written ministerial statement from junior justice minister Bridget Prentice said an amendment to the secure training centre rules laid down in parliament on 13 June would “clarify” staff powers in the light of the Rickwood inquest. It said this would come into effect on 6 July although campaigners are trying to block the measure.

Labour MP Sally Keeble was due to meet Prentice this week to call for a debate and has also placed an early day motion in parliament urging the government to withdraw the proposals.

The inquest into the death of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, who died at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in 2004 after being restrained by staff, was due to reach a verdict this week as Community Care went to press.

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 Maria Ahmed

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