6(C)(iv). Cage beds are used to punish bad behaviour


In 2003 MDAC reported the use of cage beds as a particularly cruel form of punishment in violation of international human rights law. Since then, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called for a ban on all forms of restraint, seclusion and coercion in healthcare settings, including psychiatric hospitals.71 The CPT standards are clear that physical restraints, “should never be applied, or their application prolonged, for punishment”.72

When asked why people are placed in cage beds, a nurse said it happened “when people get naughty, break stuff, make stuff dirty.” Many patients said that, “people are put in the beds as a punishment”. Two female patients at Kosmonosy Psychiatric Hospital said that that nurses put people into “cages” when they were “naughty”,73 for example when they were screaming or fighting. A 21-year old female patient at Klatovy Hospital Psychiatric Department explained that staff first sedated and then caged patients who attacked them. Another patient at the same hospital recalled how nurses broke up fights between patients and then “nurses grab patients by the collar and put them in net beds”.

Another female patient at Klatovy Hospital Psychiatric Department told MDAC that cage beds were used as punishment throughout Czech psychiatric hospitals. She explained that some years ago when she had been at a different hospital, she and other patients had complained to the chief nurse about the attitudes of some of the nursing staff. Upon hearing this, the chief nurse put all the complainants in cage beds, she reported.

71 Juan E. Méndez, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, supra note 14 at pp. 14-15.

72 European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, CPT Standards, supra note 36 at p. 31

73 In Czech the word is “zlobit”, a word which is used to describe children who are misbehaving or irritating their parents.

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