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Unjust pains: the impact of COVID-19 on children in prison

Tim Bateman (Institute of Applied Social Research, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 14 October 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020




The purpose of this paper is to consider the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the treatment of children in penal custody.


This paper is a viewpoint piece that analyses the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for children in custody, drawing on published information where available.


This paper argues that imprisoned children are an extremely vulnerable group, whose experience of incarceration exacerbates that vulnerability at the best of times. Responses to COVID-19 are particularly painful for children in those settings, and the consequences are manifestly unjust.


This paper provides an early attempt to consider the impact of COVID-19 on children in prison.



Bateman, T. (2020), "Unjust pains: the impact of COVID-19 on children in prison", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 201-208.



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