As most of you won’t have noticed, I haven’t written for a while. I couldn’t think of anything to say. Taken as a whole this blog is fairly bleak and I noticed the most popular posts were generally the ones in which I lay bare painful autobiographical detail or describe the traumatic experiences of children I have looked after. There is value in telling these stories of course, but I think it started to skew the way I was thinking about my work and my own past – as if it was all just material to write about. I gradually became uncomfortable with this.
OK…let me be clear from the get go…I’m pretty jaded and did not expect to be shocked by the content of last night’s Panorama: Teenage Prison Abuse – but I was…
I thought I would see some excessive and inappropriate use of restraint, some swearing at the kids and that kind of thing. I did not expect to see staff openly engaging in a culture of thuggery and sadism. It was appalling, cruel, disturbing, a genuine outrage and so on and so forth.
So, last night myself and a colleague restrained Mo in a variety of different holds for nearly two hours. Mo kept hurting us – biting, spitting, head butting, punching and on two separate occasions kicked my colleague, Jane, in the crotch. Sometimes I held him on my own. This is considered poor practice but we had other children to look after who are all capable of kicking off if they feel ignored. The child in question wanted to be held as his behaviour, and what he said, indicated.