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Restraint Techniques: Young Offenders

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many times restraint has been used on a child in (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres and (c) young offender institutions for the purposes of (i) preventing a criminal offence, (ii) preventing injury, (iii) preventing damage to property and (iv) maintaining good order and discipline in each month of the last three years. (287748)

Physical restraint is only ever to be used by staff in the under-18 secure estate as a last resort, when all other approaches have either not succeeded or would not be appropriate.

The data provided in the following table, for the period April 2008 to May 2009, have been supplied by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time. They relate to use of restraint in secure training centres.

Central collection of information about the reasons for each restraint began in April 2008. The categories in the table relate to the purposes for which restraint was permitted under Rule 38(1) of the Secure Training Centre Rules 1998 during all or part of the period in question. Those purposes are: to prevent a trainee from escaping from custody; to prevent a trainee from injuring himself or others; to prevent damage to property; to prevent a trainee from inciting another trainee to cause injury or damage property; and to ensure good order and discipline. Prevention of a criminal offence is not, in itself, a purpose for which restraint is or was authorised under Rule 38(1). Ensuring good order and discipline ceased, at the end of July 2008, to be an approved purpose for using restraint.

Statistics relating to young offender institutions and secure children's homes are not collected in the format requested and obtaining them would require a search through individual records, which could not be carried out without disproportionate cost.

Reasons for the use of restraint in secure training centres, April 2008 to May 2009

Escape from custody

Injury to self or others

Damage to property

Incitement to injure or cause damage

Good order and discipline

Total

2008

April

0

137

7

2

4

150

May

0

95

14

1

0

110

June

1

119

13

0

3

136

July

1

170

7

4

9

191

August

0

150

15

2

1

167

September

0

125

26

1

1

152

October

0

143

15

1

1

159

November

0

103

4

0

1

107

December

0

128

14

0

1

142

2009

January

0

138

5

0

1

143

February

0

127

17

1

1

145

March

0

159

29

2

1

190

April

0

181

23

1

1

205

May

0

156

23

0

1

179

1 Discontinued as a reason for restraint at the end of July 2008. Note: In July 2008, the Court of Appeal ruled that restraint could not be used in secure training centres for the purpose of ensuring good order and discipline (Re C v Secretary of State for Justice (2008) EWCA Civ 882).