Segregation and Solitary Confinement in Youth Custody: Rights and Regulations in Redressing Developmental Impoverishment

Date01 December 2020
Published date01 December 2020
Subject MatterCommentary
Youth Justice
2020, Vol. 20(3) 344 –353
© The Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1473225420959144
Segregation and Solitary
Confinement in Youth Custody:
Rights and Regulations in Redressing
Developmental Impoverishment
Nigel Stone
Environments in which children and young people serve the detention element of their
custodial sentences should self-evidently strive to promote their intellectual, moral and
affective development, relying heavily on shared purposeful activities and the opportunity
for constructive, pro-social peer association, in so far as this is achievable in the exclusive
company of convicted others. If removal from association is considered essential, in what
circumstances, with what alternative provision, for how long and with what safeguards,
bearing in mind that those affected are likely to pose the highest risk coupled with greatest
Removal from Association: Procedural Regulation
In England and Wales, approximately 75 per cent1 of juveniles detained within the secure
youth estate are held in young offender institutions (YOI), run by the Prison Service for
adolescents and young adults, being the normal custodial location for boys aged 15–17.
The YOI Rules 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 3371, as amended) specify that the aim of a YOI ‘shall
be to help offenders to prepare for their return to the outside community’ and that this aim
should be achieved by ‘providing a programme of activities, including education, training
and work designed to assist offenders to acquire or develop personal responsibility, self-
discipline, physical fitness, interests and skills and to obtain suitable employment after
release’ (Rule 3(1) and (2)(a)). As regards the justification for removal from association,
Rule 492 anticipates circumstances where it ‘appears desirable, for the maintenance of
good order or discipline’ (GOOD) or in the detainee’s own interests, that he should not
associate with other detainees, ‘either generally or for particular purposes’, Rule 49(1)
affording the governor discretion to remove for a period of up to 72 hours. The detainee
Corresponding author:
Nigel Stone, School of Psychology, University of East Anglia, Lawrence Stenhouse Building, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.
959144YJJ0010.1177/1473225420959144Youth JusticeStone
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