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The experiences of children in custody: a story of survival

Anne-Marie Day (Keele University Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Keele, UK)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 16 June 2021

Issue publication date: 11 October 2021

331

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore children’s experiences during their time in custody in England and Wales.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 48 children were interviewed, as part of a wider study on children’s pathways into, through and out of custody. The focus of this paper is on children’s experiences in young offender institutions.

Findings

The findings from this study suggest that children’s behaviour during incarceration can be understood largely as strategies for surviving the hostile environment in which they find themselves.

Practical implications

This paper seeks to make a series of recommendations for practitioner and policymakers, based on the findings of this study.

Originality/value

The findings from this study suggest that children’s behaviour during incarceration can be understood largely as strategies for surviving the hostile environment in which they find themselves. This paper seeks to highlight specific elements of this environment and offers an insight into how they may impact upon a child's sense of self and place in the world.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Author thanks to Tim Bateman and John Pitts, who were her much valued partners on the research project that has informed this paper. She also thanks to the South and West Yorkshire Resettlement Consortium as a fieldwork partner in this study, which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation. However, the greatest thanks goes to the children who kindly gave their time and spoke so honestly to her about their experiences into, through and out of custody.

Citation

Day, A.-M. (2021), "The experiences of children in custody: a story of survival", Safer Communities, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 159-171. https://doi.org/10.1108/SC-11-2020-0040

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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