New restraint proposals risk repeat of Adam Rickwood tragedy, warns Howard League for Penal Reform

Adam Rickwood

Adam Rickwood

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

NEW proposals risk a “scandalous” repeat of the Adam Rickwood tragedy, the Howard League for Penal Reform warned.

The organisation raised the alarm over the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, published this week, which will allow children to be restrained for “good order and discipline”

The Howard League directly linked the proposal to Adam’s suicide, after painful techniques were used to restrain the 14-year-old at the Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, near Consett, County Durham, in August 2004.

Frances Crook, its chief executive, said: “The scandalous proposal to allow prison officers to restrain children violently, simply if they don’t follow orders, turns back the clock to a deadly time for children in prison.

“Court rulings have made clear that restraining a child for ‘good order and discipline’ is illegal and inquests into the deaths of children have shown that such violent practices contributed to their deaths.

“We trust that such a dangerous proposal will be challenged in Parliament and, if need be, in the courts.”

The Bill is also promising fresh crackdowns on terrorists and an end to the use of “simple” cautions for repeat offenders.

It is expected to be included in May’s Queen's speech and be put before Parliament in the run-up to the general election next year.

Adam, of Burnley, Lancashire, became the youngest person to die in custody in modern times.

An inquest jury in 2011 found that the painful nose distraction technique used on him contributed to his suicide and their use led to "an unlawful regime" at the privately-run centre.

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