The use of 'tie down' in New Zealand prisons-what is the role of the health sector?

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Carr, Julia
King, Paula
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2019
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We draw upon two recent reports from the Chief Ombudsman that describe the prison management of people assessed at risk of self-harm or suicide, as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. People were mechanically restrained on ‘tie-down’ beds by their legs, arms and chest or placed in waist restraints with their hands cu­ ed behind their backs over prolonged periods. These practices occurred at the direction of, or were approved by, health professionals. We highlight ethical issues for health professionals party to ‘tie down’ and examine the current guidance and regulatory framework for health professionals working in coercive environments. This article is timely in the context of current Government Inquiries into the criminal justice system and mental health and addictions, the review of the health and disability system, the Correction’s Amendment Bill before parliament, and Government plans to expand Waikeria prison to include a 100-bed mental health facility. We call for the use of ‘tie down’ to be abolished in New Zealand prisons, and for all health professionals to refuse to participate in this practice. Government must make provision for su­ icient forensic mental health capacity and capability in the health sector, and ensure timely, equitable access to high-quality, trauma-informed and culturally safe services.

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New Zealand Medical Journal
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132
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1493
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© 2019 New Zealand Medical Association. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
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Biomedical and clinical sciences
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Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Medicine, General & Internal
General & Internal Medicine
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Carr, J; King, P, The use of 'tie down' in New Zealand prisons-what is the role of the health sector?, New Zealand Medical Journal, 2019, 132 (1493), pp. 60-68
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