Independent review of the use of pain-inducing techniques in the youth secure estate

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Date of publication:  18 Jun 2020 Author:  Charlie Taylor Publisher:  Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

A review was commissioned in the UK to investigate the use of pain-inducing restraint in the youth secure estate.

The report was made by Charlie Taylor who spent 12 months observing young offender institutions, secure training centres and secure children’s homes. He said, he “frequently witnessed the overuse of painful techniques” by staff in these institutions. According to his review, the cause of this problem lies in the Minimising and Managing Painful Restraint (MMPR) syllabus, the key training programme for officers in the youth secure estate, because it indicates that pain-inducing techniques are acceptable and normal.

My aim with this review has been to look at the evidence, including answers to the following questions:

  • What pain-inducing techniques are permitted?
  • What are the circumstances in which the use of pain on children is allowed?
  • How effective are pain-inducing techniques in preventing serious harm?
  • What are the alternatives to allowing the use of pain-inducing techniques?
  • What are the governance arrangements for the use of pain, and are they effective?

In his review, he makes 15 recommendations for improvements to the use of restraint against children, but he does not call for a complete ban of this technique. Learn more in the report about how to manage behaviour, about the governance of restraint, about the use of pain, high-risk situations, the role of healthcare and nurses and the use of body-worn cameras.

His report caused disappointment and provoked debate, but he defended his decision by saying that there are some exceptional incidents where restraint is necessary in order to keep everyone safe. His aim is, however, to minimalize the usage of painful restraint. Taylor calls for the creation of an Independent Restraint and Behaviour Panel to ensure restraint techniques are used appropriately. The recommendations have been accepted by the Ministry of Justice in UK.

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