Monday 20 January 2020

Need for reduction in restrictive practices at Oberstown, report finds

Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus
Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus

Gabija Gataveckaite

THERE IS a need to reduce restrictive practices at Oberstown children’s detention centre, a report has found.

A HIQA report published today also found that an improvement needs to be made in the way the use of restrictive practices is reported.

The use of restrictive practices remained “significant” at the centre, according to the report.

“It was apparent in this inspection, that there was a need to reduce restrictive practices," the report states.

“Poor quality records did not always show how young people’s rights and best interests were consistently promoted as required when restrictive practices were used,” the report added.

At the time of inspection, there was policy in place for the use of restrictive behaviour, which included single separation, the use of handcuffs and court escorts.

Restrictive procedures were used for “supporting young people” who presented with self-harm, or suicidal ideation or behaviours, anti-bullying, care, complaints policy, dignity and privacy, health and well-being, medication management, information management and supervision.

Not all restrictive practices were identified by staff or identified and recorded as such, the report found.

It recommended “further reductions” in the use of restrictive practices at the centre.

“While a less restrictive environment was being promoted on campus, further reductions in the use of restrictive practices were required.”

Written accounts of incidents where restrictive practices were used remained “inadequate”.

“[The] details on the use of all restrictive procedures was not routinely gathered or analysed for improving the quality of the service,” the report states.

The recording system was found to be “disjointed” and the quality of record keeping needed improvement "to ensure accurate reporting, and efficiency in data collection and analysis,” it adds.

The report states that a review of restrictive practices will take place, with the Deputy Director for Operations is responsible for carrying out the review.

It is due to be completed by Q1 2020.

Incident reports were “were not always of good quality” especially when they were produced by staff “directly involved” in incidents.

The report also found that handcuff management was “not adequate” at the centre, as a paper-based log on the request, removal and return of handcuffs showed gaps in signatures.

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