Prison reformers warn of ‘scandalous’ government plans for restraint in youth jails

Howard League for Penal Reform lashes out at plans to allow the use of restraint to keep order in secure colleges

A prison reform charity has branded government plans to allow secure colleges to restrain young prisoners to maintain order as “scandalous”.

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, published today, spells out the proposed legal framework for the government’s new education-focused secure colleges for young offenders.

This includes measures that give custodial officers the power to use “reasonable force” to “ensure good order and discipline” provided that they are authorised to do so the rules of the secure college.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This scandalous proposal to allow prison officers to restrain children violently, simply if they don’t follow orders, turns back the clock to a deadly time for children in prison.

“Court rulings have made clear that restraining a child for ‘good order and discipline’ is illegal and inquests into the deaths of children have shown that such violent practices contributed to their deaths.

“We trust that such a dangerous proposal will be challenged in Parliament and, if needs be, in the courts.”

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