Saturday, 21 November 2015

Inspectors raise concerns about physical restraints

"Young people have been left struggling to breathe as a result of being restrained by officers in youth custody units, a report has revealed. There were 5,714 restraint incidents in the youth secure estate in 2013/14."

"A study by the Prisons Inspectorate into the use of restraint in the youth secure estate highlighted a number of concerns about the way it is used despite the introduction of a new system called Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) which focuses on de-escalation and safer techniques. The new system was introduced following an independent review in 2009, prompted by the death of two boys in separate restraint incidents, one of whom, 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, died after he became unconscious during a restraint in a secure training centre."

"Today’s report said children frequently reported to inspectors that they struggled to breathe during a restraint. `There was a part when I was on the floor and I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk because the staff were constricting my windpipe I don’t know whether they had an arm or a leg on me but I couldn’t talk to tell them to stop it,’ one boy told inspectors. Another child said: "I couldn’t breathe. It felt like someone had their hands around my throat. I was telling staff that I couldn’t breathe but they weren’t listening. I didn’t pass out on this occasion but I have passed out in the past.`"

"Inspectors also raised concerns that in almost half of MMPR incidents reviewed by inspectors, children ended up on the floor, despite the new system not allowing staff to take children to the floor intentionally during a restraint because of the medical risks it poses. And they found that pain-inducing techniques, which should only be used as a last resort, are `used frequently` in young offender institutions."

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