Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Ministry of Justice: Turkey; Secure Training Centres

The U.K. Government supports Turkey's desire to become a member of the European Union - see, for example, David Cameron's speech 27th July 2010.  The Ministry of Justice, even in these times of cuts and national austerity, has been able to send Lord McNally (Minister of State) to Turkey to look at a probation project for young offenders.  The project involves Turkish officials working with "MoJ experts" to develop training programmes and manuals for staff working with young offenders - see Ministry of Justice 1st October 2010.  Given that legal aid here is being slashed to the bone, it would be good to know whether Turkey is bearing the cost of this and, if so, by what amount.

Restraint in Secure Training Centres:

 In England there are 4 Secure Training Centres (STC). There has been an on-going issue relating to the use of various methods of restraint on the young persons held in such centres.  Two manuals have now been issued by the Ministry of Justice to deal with "Physical Control in Care" and "Personal Protection" for personnel - see Ministry of Justice.

The deaths of Gareth Myatt and Adam Rickwood raised the public profile of this issue.   A Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights examined the subject in the 2007-8 session and issued a detailed report.  In R(C) v Secretary of State for Justice [2008] EWCA Civ 882, the Court of Appeal quashed rules aimed at amending the Secure Training Centre Rules 1998.  In December 2008, the Ministry of Justice published a review report into restraint across Young Offenders Institutions, Secure Training Centres and Secure Children's Homes - see here.  In August 2010, it was reported that the Youth Justice Board was to offer "conflict resolution" training in an attempt to stem the use of restraint - see Children and Young Persons Now 10th August 2010.

In January to March 2009, restraint was used in England's 4 STCs on 478 occasions.   In April to June 2009 it was used 535 times - Children and Young People Now - 25th May 2010

Secure Training Centres date from the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which provided for Secure Training Orders and enabled the management of the centres to be "contracted out".  Secure Training Orders were later renamed Detention and Training Orders.

It is a moot point whether the Ministry of Justice is still on top of the problems relating to STCs and, in particular, the use of restraint.  Perhaps the UK government might be better applying itself to putting our own house in order rather than spending time in Turkey?

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