Rugby youth prison staff took drugs, degraded inmates - report - The Rugby Observer
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10th Aug, 2022

Rugby youth prison staff took drugs, degraded inmates - report

Rugby Editorial 20th May, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

INMATES at a privately-run prison for young offenders near Rugby were subjected to degrading treatment and racism by staff who were under the influence of illegal drugs, a report has revealed.

The report, published by Ofsted, HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the Care Quality Commission, found staff at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre – including some who were in ‘leadership positions’ – had committed acts of gross misconduct.

Inspectors who visited the centre in February said contraband DVDs, likely to have been smuggled in by staff, suggested children had been allowed to view inappropriate material – and indicated that some staff may have “colluded with children to elicit compliance by wholly inappropriate means”.

The report says children were restrained 166 times in six months – 72 times in response to them harming themselves – and were delayed in receiving essential medical diagnosis and treatment.

On one occasion, an inmate did not receive treatment for a fracture for about 15 hours.

Inspectors rated Rainsbrook as “inadequate” – the lowest possible level of effectiveness. The prison has dismissed six staff members and is currently subject to an investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This is the worst report on a prison I have ever seen because it is a catalogue of abusive practices that have been inflicted on young children who have no escape.

“I visited Rainsbrook some years ago and found it to be claustrophobic and obsessed with security, a recipe for exactly the disaster now happening.

“These child jails run for profit are secretive and should never have been set up in the first place. Rainsbrook should be closed immediately. No child is safe in this jail.”

The centre, which houses 12 to 17 year-olds, is run by G4S, which has previously attracted high-profile criticism of its operations.

G4S director of children’s services Paul Cook said: “This is an extremely disappointing report for everyone connected with Rainsbrook and it’s the first time in 16 years that the centre has been found by any inspecting body to be less than good or outstanding.

“We recognise that the incidents highlighted by inspectors were completely unacceptable and took swift action at the time, in discussion with the Youth Justice Board.

“The YJB has expressed confidence in our action plan to address all the concerns raised and I am keen for inspectors to revisit the centre at their earliest opportunity to check on our progress.”

The centre attracted controversy in 2004 when 15-year old inmate Gareth Myatt died after being restrained using techniques that were subsequently banned.

It is understood that G4S’s contract to run Rainsbrook was extended in March 2014 for a further 18 months, until November 2016.

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