DCSF/MoJ to overhaul restraint in custody following review

The government today pledged to overhaul the use of restraint in the juvenile secure estate following the publication of the long-awaited independent review into the practice.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families and Ministry of Justice, who published their response to the review today as well, said they would implement nearly all of its recommendations.

These included:-

  • Removing certain restraint techniques from use completely, such as the double-basket hold, which was suspended last year by the government.
  • Stating that pain-inducing techniques are appropriate in exceptional circumstances, to ensure the safety of young people or staff.
  • Giving all staff consistent and comprehensive training in the awareness of risk factors in restraint, the monitoring of warning signs in young people and the need to take action quickly.

£5m to implement reforms

The DCSF and MoJ announced a £4.9m funding package to implement the reforms over the next two years.

The review was carried out by Andrew Williamson and Peter Smallridge, both of whom are former directors of social services. Both have agreed to monitor the implementation of the reforms and report back to ministers over the next two years on progress.

The review was commissioned last summer following the inquests into the deaths of Adam Rickwood and Gareth Myatt. Adam, 14, was found hanging in his room hours after being restrained using the now suspended ‘nose distraction’ technique – involving a blow to the septum – at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in 2004.

In the same year, Gareth, 15, died of asphyxia while being restrained using the now banned double-seated embrace, at Rainsbrook STC.

More on the restraint review

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