To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Does punishment in secure residential youth care work? An overview of the evidence

S. de Valk (Youth Expert Centre, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands)
G. H. P. van der Helm (Youth Expert Centre, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands)
M. Beld (University of Applied Sciences Windesheim, Zwolle, The Netherlands)
P. Schaftenaar (Secure Psychiatric Care, Inforsa, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
C. Kuiper (Horizon Youth Care and Education, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
G. J. J. M. Stams (Department of Forensic Child and Youth Care Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Violence is a common problem in secure residential units for young people. Group workers often think that young people have to learn to behave by means of punishment. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether this approach is effective in these settings, and, if so, under what circumstances. Furthermore, it aims to provide alternatives to punishment when dealing with violence.

Design/methodology/approach

Recent evidence on the effectiveness of punishment in secure residential units is reviewed. In addition, methods which are promising in dealing with violence are described.

Findings

The review shows that punishment is often used to regain control by group workers or, alternatively, is a result of professional helplessness in the face of escalating problems. Only when the living group climate is marked by trust and cooperation can punishment be effective.

Originality/value

Punishment in secure residential settings can have severe negative consequences. Nevertheless, group workers are tempted to use it as a response to violence in an attempt to gain control.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was made possible by the support of the Reformed Civil Orphanage (Gereformeerd Burger Weeshuis), Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Citation

de Valk, S., van der Helm, G.H.P., Beld, M., Schaftenaar, P., Kuiper, C. and Stams, G.J.J.M. (2015), "Does punishment in secure residential youth care work? An overview of the evidence", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 3-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-11-2014-0048

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited