Skip to main content

Youth Custody: Physical Restraint

Volume 632: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2017

18. What recent assessment he has made of the suitability of physical restraint techniques used on children in youth custody. (902757)

We are clear that restraint should be used only when it is absolutely necessary and when no other form of intervention is possible or appropriate. The number of incidents in which restraint was used reduced by 11% between the year ending March 2015 and the year ending March 2016.

In September, I asked why the Ministry of Justice’s approved methods for restraining children in young offender institutions and secure training centres can actually kill children or leave them disabled. I have since received a letter from the Minister stating that pain-inducing restraint techniques may be necessary in limited circumstances. The Department of Health launched a consultation last week about children in the care of the state, on the premise that restraint should not be used to punish or with the intention of inflicting pain, suffering or humiliation. What exactly is the Government’s position on restraint?

The restraint techniques that are used were developed in consultation with a medical panel and a medical adviser—[Interruption.] I must emphasise to the hon. Lady that we are dealing with sometimes quite violent individuals. Violence levels in the youth estate are 10 times that in the adult estate, and decisions are sometimes made, however difficult, to protect the individual concerned, other children in the unit and the staff. [Interruption.]

Order. The hon. Lady continues to chunter from a sedentary position in evident disapproval of the thrust of the reply provided from the Treasury Bench, but the hon. Lady has a recourse: she can apply for an Adjournment debate and dilate on such matters at greater length, which I am sure will be of great satisfaction to her and, possibly, to others.