A difficult period lies ahead for the youth justice sector, as the inquest begins this week into the tragic death of Gareth Myatt…Fifteen-year-old Myatt was at the beginning of a year-long sentence at the Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in Northamptonshire in April 2004. He died after losing consciousness while being restrained by staff using a technique known as the “seated double embrace”.
A subsequent independent inquiry into restraint chaired by Lord Carlile heard evidence that staff would “bait” young people into situations leading them to be restrained for the adult’s gratification and that detainees would seek physical restraint from staff to gratify their own sexual needs.
The Carlile report also found that strip searches and painful restraint techniques that led to bloody noses and broken bones were deliberately used simply to punish children. As many people pointed out, this is child abuse, and any parent using such ‘punishment’ would quite rightly find themselves in court. Why, even the Daily Mail was horrified.
A comment piece from CRAE’s excellent Carolyne Willow, who was on Carlile’s inquiry team, makes harrowing but essential reading.
Update Just seen this on Community Care about another child who died in an STC:
A highly critical inspection report into the secure training centre where 14-year-old Adam Rickwood committed suicide was held back from publication until 18 months after inspectors went in.
…It is understood that the report, which raised concerns over the use of restraint and called for a review of the centre’s behaviour management policy, had been signed off by CSCI last year, but delays occurred when it was sent to the Home Office to be approved.