Howard League: Secure training centres top restraint league table

Young offenders are much more likely to be restrained and to be injured as a result in secure training centres than other custodial settings, the Howard League for Penal Reform said today.

Figures obtained by the charity found that the four privately-run STCs – which hold around 8% of the secure population in England and Wales – accounted for 31% of restraints from October 2006 to June 2008.

The Howard League also found that centres accounted for 44% of injuries resulting from restraint from April 2007 to June 2008, with these occurring in 18% of restraint incidents. This compared to 14% for restraints in young offenders institutions and 6% for those in secure children’s homes.

STCs tend to hold 12- to 14-year-olds and some vulnerable 15-year-olds, in contrast to YOIs, where 15- to 17-year-olds are based.

The charity also found that restraint was most prevalent at Oakhill, Medway and Hassockfield STCs, with 1,493, 1,419 and 843 incidents respectively from October 2006 to June 2008.

The fourth-placed secure setting was Ashfield YOI, which had 805 restraints over this period, but holds almost twice as many offenders as Oakhill, Medway and Hassockfield combined.

The other STC – Raisnbrook – had 625 restraints over this period.

Howard League director Frances Crook called for “painful physical restraint on children” to be banned. The findings come ahead of the expected publication this autumn of a government-commissioned review into the use of restraint in secure settings, along with ministers’ response.

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