Barry Goldson



Fatal Injustice: Rampant Punitiveness, Child-Prisoner Deaths, and Institutionalized Denial — A Case for Comprehensive Independent Inquiry in England and Wales

Situated within the wider context of Anglo-American penal expansion, this article focuses more sharply upon the implications of “lockdown” for child prisoners in England and Wales. Since 1997, successive New Labour governments have legislated on more than 50 occasions in the criminal justice sphere and have created more than 3,000 new offenses. Prison places have expanded by 19,000 and, expressed as a rate per 100,000 of the national population, the prison population is the highest among countries of the European Union. Greater use of penal custody for children is made in England and Wales than in most other industrialized democratic countries in the world. Levels of recorded self-harm in prisons holding children have risen by 4,000% since 1997 and, in the period between July 1990 and September 2005, 29 children lost their lives in state prisons and private jails. Against a backdrop of institutionalized denial, this article makes the case for a comprehensive independent inquiry to investigate the politics, policies, and practices that have given rise to penal expansion and its corrosive and fatal consequences for child prisoners.

child prisoners, damage, deaths, denial, harm, independent inquiry, injustice, punitiveness

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 4 (2006): 52-68