Vulnerable Inside: Children in Secure and Penal Settings

By Barry Goldson.
The Children’s Society
ISBN 1899783431   

Vulnerable Inside presents the findings from research
on children placed in secure accommodation “for their own
protection” and children remanded in secure accommodation or

The first part of the book reviews the growing use of secure
accommodation and custody in recent times and the political and
legislative context in which increases have occurred. Goldson also
describes the attempt by the Youth Justice Board to rationalise and
improve provision.

Although laudable objectives underpin this effort, he argues that,
at the level of both policy and practice, the secure estate for
young people remains seriously flawed.

This is illustrated in the second part of the book through
interviews with staff and children.

These are often moving, as with the following extract: “Last night
this kid, I don’t know whyÉone of the officers opened this
kid’s door and he just shouted, ‘Get the nurse’Éno one knew
what was going on, but we knew, if you see what I meanÉat
dinner, they said he was dead. He was 16, the same age as me.
Everyone was very quiet.”

Anyone concerned with the welfare of such children should find the
book invaluable.

David Porteous is lecturer in applied social studies,
University of Luton.

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