WA Youth Detention Guards Are Using A Dangerous Restraint Technique On Young Boys

"They're touching your back, your spine, and they'll just push until you're screaming,"

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Whistleblowers have revealed that a dangerous restraint technique known as the “hogtie” is being used against young boys in a youth detention facility in Western Australia.

Six years after an ABC investigation exposed the human rights breaches in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale youth detention centre, Western Australia’s sole youth detention facility Banksia Hill has come under fire for using a restraint technique experts say poses “significant risks of injury or death”.

The hold known as “folding-up” or “hog-tying” sees guards handcuff a detainee and then pin them to the ground. They then bend ending the victim’s legs behind them towards their head while applying downward pressure on their back.

Despite the Western Australian Department of Justice strictly specifying that restraint techniques used on children “should not cause pain or injury”, one juvenile detainee told the ABC that the hold is extremely painful and humiliating.

“They would have your hands touch into your head and they’ll put your legs there too,” one boy, under the pseudonym Junior, told the broadcaster.

“They’re touching your back, your spine, and they’ll just push until you’re screaming.”

A Royal Commission into abuse at Don Dale youth detention centre defined the practice as the “application of force or bodyweight while an individual is handcuffed behind the back in a prone position”, noting that it came with “significant risks of injury or death”, with Queensland banning the hold altogether.

Banksia Hill has also been criticised for keeping youth detainees — the majority of whom are young First Nations boys — in prolonged periods of solitary isolation, even holding 17 juveniles in isolation at a maximum security adult prison while renovations to the centre were completed.