Force used on more inmates at Doncaster young offenders institute

Dan Jarvis MP on the campaign trail with labours parliamentary candidate for Pudsey Jamie Hanley in Horsforth.  23 January 2015.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Dan Jarvis MP on the campaign trail with labours parliamentary candidate for Pudsey Jamie Hanley in Horsforth. 23 January 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Doncaster Young Offenders Institute has seen a rise in the number of occasions where officers have had to use force to restrain young offenders.

Government figures revealed, through a parliamentary question by South Yorkshire MP Dan Jarvis, the number of incidents where restraint was used at the institution’s young offenders wing was 154 last year.

The total for 2014 compares with a figure of 106 in 2010, 111 in 2011, 72 in 2012 and 136 in 2013

Meanwhile, at another of the borough’s sites. Moorland, near Hatfield Woodhouse, the figure has fallen, from 135 in 2010 to 13 last year.

The figure revealed in the statistcs for 2011 was 44, compared with 35 in 2012 and 28 in 2013.

Nationally, the figure is down overall from 10,098 in 2010 to 9,080 in 2014.

Andrew Selous, the Government’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, defended the figures in parliament.

He said: “Prison staff are trained to use specific systems of restraint to control violent prisoners.

“Wherever possible staff will try to de-escalate the situation by persuasion or negotiation.

“Staff only use restraint as a last resort to prevent violence, and where no other means of controlling the prisoner is possible.

“Where restraint techniques have to be applied, the minimum amount of force will be used for as short a time as possible.

“Healthcare staff examine all prisoners on whom force has been used.

He told Mr Jarvis that Young Offender Institutions are responsible for holding young people aged 15 to 17 and, in separate parts of the establishment, young adults aged 18 to 21.

The National Offender Management Service has developed a specialised system of restraint which is designed and independently accredited for use with young people. This aims to minimise any use of physical force and, where it is used, to reduce the risk of injury to Young People as far as possible.

The figures come statistics sent in from prisons in a central monthly return setting out the number of times force, including restraint has been used against individual prisoners.

They figures include any incident where physical force was used against a prisoner no matter how small, including incidents where staff defend themselves from attack and where prisoners are handcuffed.

The main measure used for recording use of force is the number of prisoners on whom force has been used, rather than number of individual incidents.

All prisons must have procedures in place to monitor and review the use of force within the establishment, including monitoring trends.

The highest figure nationally last year 1,574 was at Feltham.