originally published by: Mail on Sunday
18th 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.
The secret manual, Physical Control In Care, authorises staff to ‘use an inverted knuckle into the trainee’s sternum and drive inward and upward.’ Officers at youth prisons, such as HMP Young Offenders’ Institution in Feltham, were given guidelines on how to restrain children as young as 12.
It adds: ‘Continue to carry alternate elbow strikes to the young person’s ribs until a release is achieved.’
The document, written in 2005 but classified as secret, also tells staff to ‘drive straight 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.’
Instructions to staff warn that the techniques risk giving children a ‘fracture to the skull’ and ‘temporary or permanent blindness caused by rupture to eyeball or detached retina’. The guidance, designed to cope with unruly children, also acknowledges that the measures could cause asphyxia.
Jail restraint techniques
Restraint techniques: In a passage on applying a head hold, the manual warns that the offender’s breathing may be ‘compromised’ One passage, explaining how to administer a head-hold on children, adds that ‘if breathing is compromised the situation ceases to be a restraint and becomes a medical emergency’.