Restraint measures led to 280 injuries

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The Independent Online

An alarming number of injuries caused by control and restraint measures used at a young offenders' institution must be urgently investigated, the chief inspector of prisons says today.

In the last two years 10 juveniles or young adults held at Castington detention centre, in Northumberland, suffered broken limbs. In one very serious case investigated by the police a young inmate fractured both his wrists.

In her report published today Ann Owers, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, said that the number of fractures or suspected fractures at Castington was unprecedented in a young offenders' institution and gave cause for concern.

Ms Owers concluded: "The principal concern... was the discovery that, over a two-year period, the use of control and restraint on young people had led to seven confirmed fractures and three suspected fractures... These incidents had been thoroughly investigated internally but no coherent explanation had emerged."

There had been 364 use of force incidents in 2008, 280 involving use of control and restraint – 114 with young adults and 166 with juveniles. Ms Owers recommended that "a senior figure independent of the establishment" undertake a further and comprehensive review so that lessons could be learned.

Phil Wheatley, director general of the National Offender Management Service, said: "Any use of force that results in injury is fully investigated... We accepted and implemented the Chief Inspector's recommendation that a further and comprehensive review should be undertaken by a senior figure independent of the establishment so that lessons can be learned."

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