Wetherby Young Offender Institution

Ministry of Justice written question – answered am ar 11 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Shadow Minister (Youth Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons' publication entitled Report on an unannounced inspection of HMYOI Wetherby (20 November - 7 December 2023), published on 5 March 2024, if he will implement additional safeguarding measures to reduce instances of (a) girls having clothing removed by male officers and (b) pain-inducing restraint methods by staff members.

Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Shadow Minister (Youth Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons' publication entitled Report on an unannounced inspection of HMYOI Wetherby (20 November - 7 December 2023), published on 5 March 2024, what steps he is taking to reduce instances of (a) girls having clothing removed by male officers and (b) pain-inducing restraint methods by staff members.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

In emergency situations, the first priority of staff is always to safeguard the life and safety of those in their care. Staff will do all they can to preserve the dignity of a child, consistent with the urgent need to prevent harm.

Following the incident highlighted by HM Inspectorate, a Learning Review has been conducted by the Youth Custody Service’s Safeguarding Team. It made 21 recommendations to ensure that lessons on appropriate practice are learned, both at HMP Wetherby and across the youth secure estate. The recommendations focus on four main themes:

  • protecting the well-being of children and staff during and after incidents
  • further training and guidance for staff in incident management of girls
  • integrated care management to ensure all departments work effectively with a child
  • management of resources to ensure there is an appropriate gender balance of staff on night duty.

Force must only ever be used as a last resort, and at the lowest possible level. A policy on use of force in the youth estate (‘Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint’) was published last year. Staff are trained to use the minimum level of force, and the guidance makes clear that pain-inducing techniques should only be used as an exceptional emergency response.

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