Child custody restraint manual is to be released in full

Office Binderoriginally published by: Children’s Rights Alliance
date unknown

After three years of secrecy and resistance, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) has agreed to hand over the instructors’ manual which governs the use of physical restraint in the country’s four privately-run child prisons.

This victory for child protection comes days before the YJB and Ministry of Justice were set to argue at an Information Tribunal appeal hearing that handing over the document would pose a serious risk to prison security and public safety.

The YJB was appealing against an order by the Information Commissioner in December 2009 that the document be given to the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE). It has now withdrawn its appeal, days before the hearing. Carolyne Willow, CRAE’s national co-ordinator, says:

Since two children died in privately-run child prisons in 2004, the YJB and the Ministry of Justice have had six long years to bring everything out into the open. Until now, we’ve seen a compulsive reliance on secrecy and an absolute failure to face up publicly to the disgraceful and unlawful treatment of children the State officially describes as vulnerable.

The Justice Secretary should now order an independent judicial inquiry under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights examining the abusive regimes of these private child prisons going right back to 1998.

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