provided by: John Bowden
published: August 2010
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In 2004 15 year old Gareth Myatt died whilst being “restrained” by three members of staff at a privatized children’s prison called Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in Warwickshire. In the same year 14 year old Adam Rickwood hanged himself in another children’s jail, Hassockfield Secure Centre in Co. Durham.
A Judge later ruled that the guards who “restrained” Adam shortly before his death had used unlawful force on him. Six years later and following a sustained campaign by parents of imprisoned children and groups like the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) a shocking government document detailing control methods used on children, some as young as 12, in custody has been revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Published by the Prison Service in 2005 and classified as a restricted government document, the manual provides staff in secure training centres with authorization to inflict physical pain on children with so-called “restraint and self-defence techniques”. The methods of physical force described in the manual are so legally questionable that the government was prepared to be taken to a tribunal to fight against disclosure of the document despite a ruling by the Information Commissioner that it should be publicly released.
Previously government officials had even refused to provide a copy to the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Eventually the Ministry of Justice was forced to back down and release the document; its contents made the reticence of the Justice Ministry to shame with the public, such information all too self-explanatory.
Some of the “restraint” methods used against children in custody approved by the Justice Ministry, currently headed by the liberal-thinking Ken Clark, include ramming knuckles into the ribs of children and raking shoes down the shins. It also authorised staff to: “Drive straightened fingers into the young person’s face, and then quickly drive the straightened fingers of the same hand downwards into the young person’s groin area”. “Use an inverted knuckle into the trainee’s sternum and drive inward and upward”. “Continue to carry alternate elbow strikes to the young person’s ribs until a release is achieved”.
‘Disturbing’ secret manual reveals brutal methods used on youths
18 July 2010
A government manual instructing prison staff on how to inflict pain on teenage inmates was today labelled ‘state authorised child abuse’. The Ministry of Justice was forced to release details of its approved ‘restraint and self-defence techniques’ for children in secure training centres after a lengthy freedom of information battle. — Mail On Sunday
Child custody restraint manual is to be released in full
After three years of secrecy and resistance, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) has agreed to hand over the instructors’ manual which governs the use of physical restraint in the country’s four privately-run child prisons. — Children’s Rights Alliance
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