The Ministry of Justice is reviewing its authorisation of pain-inducing restraint by GEOAmey escort custody officers taking children to and from secure children’s homes and secure training centres.
This follows our threat of legal action.
Restraint techniques which deliberately inflict pain on children are banned in secure children’s homes. Yet escort custody officers employed by GEOAmey have been authorised and trained to deliberately inflict pain when taking children to and from secure children’s homes since mid-2016.
Article 39 ran a crowdfunder in the Summer to raise funds to be able to legally challenge the policy. Nearly 200 donors generously helped us defend the rights of children.
After we wrote to the Ministry of Justice, it examined restraint records and found there had been no reports of pain-inducing restraint by GEOAmey escort custody officers. To avert legal proceedings, it said it would consider the safety implications of removing the techniques.
Carolyne Willow, Article 39’s Director, said:
“We welcome the review as a massive opportunity for the government to take positive action to protect the rights of very vulnerable children.
“Pain-inducing restraint is an abuse of children’s rights, dangerous and unjustified. It is already prohibited in other settings by the Department of Health and the Department for Education. Successive human rights bodies have told the UK to remove these brutal restraint methods.
“This is the first time the Ministry of Justice has shown itself open to removing pain-inducing restraint, albeit only in the escorting context, since the terrible death of 14 year-old Adam Rickwood.
“Adam was unlawfully restrained and inflicted with a severe assault to the nose, euphemistically called a ‘nose distraction’. Before he hanged himself in his cell at Hassockfield secure training centre, in 2004, he wrote explaining he had asked why staff were allowed to hit him in the nose and they told him it was restraint.
“This review could, at last, signal a move towards child-centred care.”
We urge organisations and individual experts to contribute evidence to the review by 22 December.
Please send your submission to us, and we will forward to the Ministry of Justice:
Subject heading – Pain-inducing restraint and escorts
Read our submission to the Ministry of Justice: Article 39 submission pain-inducing restraint 14 Dec 2017