6 March 2008

INQUEST welcomes the recommendations of the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in their inquiry into the use of restraint in secure training centres which is published today.

The report criticises the government for widening the scope of restraint against children through the introduction of Statutory Instrument 2007 no.1709 and calls for the immediate abolition of all distraction restraint techniques. It also calls for changes in the law to make clear that restraint should not be used to gain compliance in secure training centres, an issue INQUEST has been campaigning on since the statutory instrument was introduced without consultation or debate last year.

INQUEST has been working with the families of Adam Rickwood and Gareth Myatt since their deaths in secure training centres in 2004. Restraint played a part in both their deaths and the inquests into their deaths revealed the shocking levels of dangerous restraint routinely used against children in custody.

Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST said: “Failure to implement the JCHR recommendations will put more children’s lives in danger and amounts to a continuation of state-sanctioned violence against some of society’s most vulnerable children. This report confirms our fears that the government is breaching children’s human rights. The deaths of Adam and Gareth may have been prevented had the use of restraint in secure training centres been properly devised, implemented and monitored. Shamefully, the government have still not responded to the rule 43 report made by the coroner at the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Gareth Myatt in July last year which indicates their poor level of commitment in wanting to learn lessons from the tragic restraint related death of a child”

Notes to editors

  1. INQUEST is the only non-governmental organisation in England and Wales that works directly with the families of those who die in custody. It provides an independent free legal and advice service to bereaved people on inquest procedures and their rights in the coroner’s courts.
  1. Copies of our policy briefings on the deaths of Adam Rickwood, Gareth Myatt and our policy paper on the SI 2007 no.1709 can be found on the policy pages of our website https://inquest.org.uk/justice

Further Information www.inquest.org.uk

Deborah Coles, Co-Director INQUEST office 020 7263 1111