Youth life in secure care
Torbenfeldt Bengtsson, Tea
Child and Family SFI (The Danish National Center of Social Research) Copenhagen K, Denmark
In this paper I will explore the creation of youth life in secure care for children between 12 and 18 years of age. Although a wealth of literature has already investigated secure care the main focus has been placed on the treatment of the youngsters and the risk factors for recidivism. Little is known about the youngster?s creation of youth life within the secure setting.
Through an ethnographic field study in two secure units in Denmark, I will provide a rich description of how youth life is created by the youngsters and the role of the almost total exclusion from the outside world - not only in form of locked doors and restrictions of visitors, but also through the deprivation of mobile phones and access to the internet. The aim is to show what is at stake for the youngsters in their creation of a meaningful youth life within the extreme setting of secure care.
With outset in more general theories of youth sociology, I will discuss the proposition that youngsters placed in secure care are not only met with negative sides of the secure residential institutions, they are also met with the negative sides of the individualised modern youth life. Hereby their creation of a positive youth life and trough it meaningful adult identities becomes impossible - not just within the secure setting but also in general.