The government has announced an independent review of the restraint of child prisoners, following inquests into the deaths of two young offenders, Gareth Myatt (pictured) and Adam Rickwood, and a fevered parliamentary debate on the legitimacy of the practice.
We want to know what you think should be the priorities for this review into the treatment of some of the most vulnerable. Email us your responses and we will feed them into the inquiry.
Gareth died while being restrained by three staff at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in 2004 using a now banned double-seated embrace technique. Adam committed suicide in the same year, while imprisoned at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, after being restrained for not going to his room by staff using the painful “nose distraction” technique, involving a karate chop to the nose.
Despite this, the government has pushed through controversial legislation enabling staff to restrain young prisoners in STCs for reasons of “good order or discipline” – not just to prevent escape or harm, as had previously been the case.
Ministry of justice junior minister Lord Hunt has said the review will look at the medical safety of particular restraint techniques. Other key issues the review may consider are:
- The criteria for using restraint in custody, notably whether it should be used to maintain order and discipline.
- The adequacy of staff training in dealing with vulnerable young offenders in STCs and other secure settings.
- Access to advocacy services for children who are restrained.
- The quality of inspections of STCs, now under the auspices of Ofsted.
- Whether the secure estate should have one set of restraint techniques, rather than different systems for STCs, young offender institutions and secure children’s homes.
- Whether restraint should be used on those under suicide watch.
The review will be completed within six months of the appointment of an independent chair.
Inquest to cast light on use of restraint in the secure estate