From 2010: Private Eye on Cruelty to Children at G4S Detention Centres

G4S is another government contractor, that has kept winning government contracts since the 1990s despite a record of appalling incompetence and failure. Amongst other examples of their manifest inability, the company has been responsible for prisoners escaping from custody as they were being transported to trial, and the rioting of asylum seekers in one of their detention centres as a result of neglect and abuse. In their edition for the 14th – 27th May 2010, Private Eye covered several cases of the maltreatment of children at their detention centres, including one case which resulted in the death of the boy concerned.

Scare Centres

“We recognise that when your child arrives at one of our centres they may be bewildered, tired and worried,” security giant G4S tells the families of young people locked up in its secure training centres.

Children may rightly be worried. A G4S manager has just been sentenced to a 40-week suspended jail term for assaulting a 13-year-old in his care at the run-for-profit Rainsbrook child jail near Daventry. Northampton crown court heard that 27-year-old team leader Neil Hanna dragged the boy along tarmac and then up a flight of stairs, causing him severe abrasions.

Rainsbrook is of course where 15-year-old Gareth Myatt (Eyes passim) choked to death during restraint by three “care” staff three days after he arrived. The teenager, who was only 4 ft 10 in tall, had refused to clean the sandwich toaster.

Meanwhile, the British Safety Council, (BSC) last week announced that it was withdrawing the 2009 International Safety Award presented to G4S for its other for-profit detention facilities – immigration detention centres. The move followed the death of Eliud Nyenze, a 40-year-old from Kenya who collapsed and died at the Oakington centre in Cambridge after allegedly being denied swift medical help following an apparent heart attack (see last Eye).

For-profit prisons are notorious. That arch-Tory, Peter Hitchens, is no supporter of them, on the base that the power to prosecute and punish crime should only belong to the state. More seriously, one of the private prison companies appears in the Michael Moore documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. One section of the film describes how a series of teenagers, including a girl, were given custodial sentences despite the triviality of their crimes. If I remember correctly, the girl may have skipped school for the day. The children’s offences were all at that level. They were a pain and a problem but hardly a menace to society, nor anything that a good parental talk and grounding couldn’t have sorted out. But nevertheless, they were sent to the hair-rising regime of adult prisons. Why? The judge was on the payroll of the local private prison contractor, and so it was in his interest, and theirs, to keep their little gulag well stocked.

It’s time the private prisons and detention centres were scrapped, and a good, long look taken at G4S’ suitability as a government contractor. But I doubt that’ll ever be forthcoming, as they’re probably another Tory donor.

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3 Responses to “From 2010: Private Eye on Cruelty to Children at G4S Detention Centres”

  1. sdbast Says:

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  2. curi56 Says:

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