Revealed: brutal guide to punishing jailed youths

Mark Townsend

Shocking details of techniques used to inflict pain deliberately onchildren in privately run jails have been revealed for the first time in a government document obtained by the Observer.

Some of the restraint and self-defence measures approved by the Ministry of Justice include ramming knuckles into ribs and raking shoes down the shins. Other extraordinary passages in the previously secret manual, Physical Control in Care, authorise staff to:
■ “Use an inverted knuckle into the trainee’s sternum and drive inward and upward.”
■ “Continue to carry alternate elbow strikes to the young person’s ribs until a release is achieved.”
■ “Drive straight fingers into the young person’s face, and then quickly drive the straightened fingers of the same hand downwards into the young person’s groin area.”
The disclosure of the prison service manual follows a five-year freedom of information battle. The manual was condemned last night by campaigners as “state authorisation of institutionalised child abuse”.
Published by the HM Prison Service in 2005 and classified as a restricted government document, the manual guides staff on what restraint and self-defence techniques are authorised for use on children as young as 12 in secure training centres. The centres are purpose-built facilities for young offenders up to the age of 17 and run by private firms under government contracts.
Instructions to staff warn that the techniques risk giving children a “fracture to the skull” and “temporary or permanent blindness caused by rupture to eyeball or detached retina”.

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