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Pindown was a method of punishment used in children's homes in Staffordshire, England in the 1980s. It involved locking children in rooms called "pindown rooms", sometimes for periods of weeks or months, similar to a lockdown in prisons. The children were kept in solitary confinement with little furniture, no conversation and repetitive occupations.[1]

A total of at least 132 children, aged nine and upwards, experienced what came to be called ‘pindown' between 1983 and 1989. It varied in length but did last, in one instance, up to 84 continuous days. It was punishment for such activities as running away from care or school, petty theft, bullying and threats of violence.[2][3] An inquiry into the practice, "The Pindown Inquiry", held in 1990/1991 was chaired by Allan Levy QC. It took 75 days of evidence from 153 witnesses, and examined approximately 150,000 pages of documents including 400 log books of events in children’s homes. A 300 page report was produced after almost a year.[4]

The report's findings were that the practice was decisively outside anything that could properly be considered as good childcare practice. In the view of the inquiry it was an unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable practice, and unlawful.


  1. Brian Corby (2005). Child Abuse: Towards a Knowledge Base (3rd ed.). Open University press. ISBN 978-0335217632.
  2. "The History of Past Abuse". Care Leavers' Association. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  3. Brian Corby; Alan Doig; Vicky Roberts (2001). Public inquiries into residential abuse of children. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. pp. 81–82. ISBN 1853028959.
  4. Levy, A; Kahan, B (1991). The Pindown Experience and the Protection of Children: The Report of the Staffordshire Child Care Inquiry. Staffordshire County Council.
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