Investigating the impact of Covid-19 on children in custody

A Keele University criminologist has published a new editorial paper which explores the experiences of children living in prison during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Writing in Safer Communities, Dr Anne-Marie Day from Keele’s School of Social, Political and Global Studies drew upon her previous research to discuss existing concerns for incarcerated children, examining the negative impact of the pandemic on young people in custody.

The paper explores the treatment of children living in Young Offender Institutions during the first lockdown and found that imprisoned children were subject to self-isolation periods lasting up to 23 hours, as well as the removal of face-to-face visits with friends and family, and the cancellation of education sessions.

Despite measures implemented by the Ministry of Justice to mitigate the negative impacts of restrictions, such as occasional video calls and an early release scheme for low-risk inmates close to their release date, it is widely thought that their implementation has not been successful in meeting the needs of vulnerable children.

Dr Day, Lecturer in Criminology, said: “The focus of the media and general public during Covid has been on the impact of lockdown on all children’s educational attainment, and wellbeing. Children in custody have been forgotten.

“They have been in solitary confinement for many months, with virtually no access to their education and visits from friends and family for support.

“It is important that we highlight the differential treatment of justice experienced by children both during the pandemic and generally.”