Unlawful restraint widespread in child jails for a decade, says judge


Prison Gantryoriginally by: The Guardian
published: 12th January 2012

The unlawful use of restraint was widespread in privately run child jails in Britain for at least a decade, a high court judge has ruled for the first time. Mr Justice Foskett said statutory agencies had failed to take action to stop the unlawful use of force against the large numbers of children held in the network of secure training centres run by G4S and Serco.

He singles out the youth justice board for its “apparent active promotion” until 2007 of restraint techniques which were subsequently banned.

The high court judge stops short of legally ordering the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, to inform hundreds, if not thousands, of potential victims of their right to claim compensation. But he does say that ministers need “to consider whether something ought to be done”.

In a damning ruling, Mr Justice Foskett, said: “The children and young persons sent to [secure training centres] were sent there because they had acted unlawfully and to learn to obey the law, yet many of them were subject to unlawful actions during their detention. I need, I think, say no more.”

The judicial review case was brought by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) to challenge Clarke’s refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998 when the first privately run secure training centre opened in England.

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