How many more breaches will it take for global governments to realise that Serco aren’t fit to run prisons, detention centres or the local chicken shop? (via the Guardian):
The unlawful use of restraint was widespread in privately run child jails in Britain for at least a decade, a high court judge has ruled for the first time.
Mr Justice Foskett said statutory agencies had failed to take action to stop the unlawful use of force against the large numbers of children held in the network of secure training centres run by G4S and Serco.
He singles out the youth justice board for its “apparent active promotion” until 2007 of restraint techniques which were subsequently banned.
The high court judge stops short of legally ordering the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, to inform hundreds, if not thousands, of potential victims of their right to claim compensation. But he does say that ministers need “to consider whether something ought to be done”.
In a damning ruling, Mr Justice Foskett, said: “The children and young persons sent to [secure training centres] were sent there because they had acted unlawfully and to learn to obey the law, yet many of them were subject to unlawful actions during their detention. I need, I think, say no more.”
The judicial review case was brought by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) to challenge Clarke’s refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998 when the first privately run secure training centre opened in England.
The judge said the legal action had shone a light into a corner that might otherwise have remained in the dark and described the decade-long abuse of children in custody as “to say the least, a sorry tale”.
The legal battle follows a second inquest last year into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, who was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield secure training centre, where he was on remand, in 2004. The inquest concluded that a serious system failure had given rise to an unlawful regime at the jail.
But here in Australia, Serco continues to turn on governments and bureaucrats with sweet talk about “efficiency” (via the West Australian):
The private company set to operate WA’s new youth offender centre has been criticised by the British High Court in a decision which found young people had endured a decade of unlawful abuse while in its care.
In a judgment handed down this week, High Court Justice David Foskett said youths held in the “secure training centres” had been restrained by staff inflicting a sharp blow to the child’s nose or ribs or yanking back their thumb.
The disciplinary techniques were outlined in a 2005 manual, which suggested they could be used to control fighting juveniles.
Judge Foskett said the techniques were used on as many as 350 children a month over the decade, and about 25 per cent of the time were used unlawfully.
This week’s revelations of the full extent of the abuse at the Serco and G4S facilities come after a previous British inquiry into the suicide of a 14-year-old who had been subject to unlawful restraint at a Serco unit.
The Community and Public Sector Union yesterday called for Serco to be disqualified from its bid to run Perth’s young adults centre.
Serco was given preferred tender status two months ago and was expected to win the contract next month.
The 80-bed facility for 18 to 24-year-old men will operate on the same site as the Rangeview Juvenile Remand Centre.
The Department of Corrective Services said the successful bidder would be tied to key performance measures and other controls to ensure standards.
A Serco spokesman said the firm took its responsibilities “very seriously” and that British centres had stopped using the physical controls in 2008. A court accepted the officers believed they were acting lawfully when using the techniques.