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Physical restraint refers to the practice of rendering people helpless or keeping them in captivity by means such as handcuffs, shackles, straitjackets, ropes or other forms of physical restraint.
Physical restraint in educational settings
Physical restraint in forensic settings
Misuse and risks
Restraining someone against their will is generally a crime in most jurisdictions, unless it is explicitly sanctioned by law.
The misuse of physical restraint has resulted in many deaths. Physical restraint can be dangerous, sometimes in unexpected ways. Examples include:
- postural asphyxia
- unintended strangulation
- death due to choking or vomiting and being unable to clear the airway
- death due to inability to escape in the event of fire or other disaster
- death due to dehydration or starvation due to the inability to escape
- cutting off of blood circulation by restraints
- nerve damage by restraints
- cutting of blood vessels by struggling against restraints, resulting in death by loss of blood
- death by hypothermia or hyperthermia whilst unable to escape
For these and many other reasons, extreme caution is needed in the use of physical restraint.