Use of force on young offenders in custody

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1. Main facts and figures

  • force is used with young White people less frequently than with young people from Other ethnic groups

  • the greatest difference in how often force is used with young White people and with Other ethnic groups was found in Werrington YOI and Cookham Wood YOI

Things you need to know

Simple conclusions or direct comparisons between ethnicities or institutions should be avoided, because the circumstances are different for each use of force.

The use of force figures reflect the average number of incidents in each month, based on incidents over the year. Incidents are recorded on the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) system, which counts any physical intervention as a ‘use of force’.

Two of the 6 institutions using MMPR switched to this system after April 2015 (the start of the period measured here): Werrington YOI in May 2015 and Cookham Wood in July 2015. Monthly averages for these institutions are calculated using the number of months the system ran for in the period instead of the full 12 months.

What the data measures

This data measures the rate of incidents in which staff at young offender institutions use force with young offenders, broken down by the ethnicity of young offenders.

Use of force is recorded under the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) system, which is used in some young offender institutions (YOIs) and secure training centres (STCs).

The rate shown is the average number of incidents per 100 young people per month, broken down by ethnicity (White or Other ethnic group) and shown for each YOI and STC using the MMPR system.

A young person refers here, with a few exceptions, to boys and young men between the ages of 10 and 17.

Use of force can range from minor incidents to staff physically intervening to stop an assault or fight between young people. It also includes planned interventions to prevent serious harm to one or more young people.

In exceptional circumstances, force can be used as a last-resort means of resolving ‘passive non-compliance’, where it is in the interests of the young person or other young people.

The downloadable data also includes the average number of use of force incidents per month at each YOI.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Because the number of young people involved was too small to draw any firm conclusions based on specific ethnic categories, the binary ethnic categories ‘White’ and ‘Other ethnic groups’ was used. ‘White’ includes White British as well as all other White ethnic minority groups. ‘Other ethnic groups’ includes all other ethnic minority groups.

2. Use of force by ethnicity

Number of use of force incidents per 100 young people (average per month) and average incidents per month in custody
White Other
Establishment White Number of incidents per 100 young people White Number of incidents Other Number of incidents per 100 young people Other Number of incidents
Cookham Wood YOI 30.5 25.6 58.2 60.2
Medway STC 24.5 7.5 31.2 12.2
Oakhill STC 38.8 20.9 52.1 20.3
Rainsbrook STC 26.8 16.9 30.9 8.2
Werrington YOI 18.4 13.2 38.7 26.3
Wetherby YOI 20.8 51.5 24.4 20.5

Download table data for ‘Use of force by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Use of force by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Use of force on young offenders in custody Use of force by ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • force is used with young White people less frequently than with young people from Other ethnic groups

  • the difference between how often force is used with young White people and how often it’s used with Other ethnic groups varies according to youth offending institute (YOI)

  • in Werrington YOI and Cookham Wood YOI, young people from Other ethnic groups were involved in about twice the number of use of force incidents as young White people; in other YOIs they were no more than a third more likely to be involved than young White people

3. Methodology

Ethnicity is self-reported by young offenders and recorded on administrative systems by staff. As with all large administrative data sources, some inherent inaccuracy may exist.

The prison population is based on the number of young people in custody at the beginning of the month plus new admissions during the month. This is then averaged over the year and used to calculate the rate of incidents of use of force.

Ethnicity figures do not include data where ethnicity is unknown.

Rounding

Rates per 100 to 1 decimal place

Related publications

Youth Justice Statistics 2015 to 2016

Further technical information

Data received from the establishments through monthly returns is validated through a reconciliation process on an annual basis. Subsequently these have been checked and revised. Therefore, figures in this publication will not match those previously published in the year ending March 2015 publication.

This year there was an additional historic reconciliation and as a result data from year ending March 2011 may have changed significantly and not match those previously published.

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Ministry of Justice

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Youth justice data is used by the government to develop, monitor and evaluate criminal justice policy for young offenders. It reports on activity in the criminal justice system for England and Wales, giving information for the latest year and also longer-term trends.

5. Download the data

Use of force on young offenders in custody - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, geography, value, numerator