Young Offenders and Open Custody  book cover
1st Edition

Young Offenders and Open Custody

ISBN 9780367226268
Published March 5, 2019 by Routledge
172 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Young offenders given custodial sentences in youth institutions constitute an important group in the context of crime prevention research, given that offenders within this group are at high risk of reoffending or continuing with a criminal career into adulthood. This book explores the significance of custodial openness for children and youths and how this environment affects future desistance from crime.

In Young Offenders and Open Custody Tove Pettersson provides powerful support for the view that the experience of more open custodial forms during the youth custody sentence is of significance both for providing incarcerated youths with a more humane environment and for the likelihood of a positive outcome following their release. Building upon detailed interviews with convicted youths and staff at the special approved homes in Sweden, this book offers unique insights into the effect of punishment on young offenders and their understanding of social control.

Drawing upon quantitative and qualitative data, this book examines levels of reoffending over time among youths sentenced to custody, and considers the impact of open sentences. This book will be useful reading for students and researchers engaged in youth and juvenile justice, juvenile delinquency, and sentencing and punishment.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Total institutions, discipline and power

3. Studying open custody, re-offending and institutional everyday life

4. Youth and staff narratives about youth custody sentences

5. Youth and staff narratives about the time subsequent to youth custody

6. Re-offending and custodial openness

7. The significance of custodial openness

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Tove Pettersson is Head of Department and Professor at the Department of Criminology, Stockholm University, Sweden


"Theoretically grounded and based on extensive original research, this exploration of the experiences of young people in custody in Sweden is a useful addition to the literature on child imprisonment. Its focus on ‘open custody’ as a potential mechanism for reducing reoffending will be of considerable interest to academics, practitioners and policy makers in a wide range of jurisdictions."

Dr Tim Bateman, Reader in Youth Justice, University of Bedfordshire, UK

"Tove Pettersson’s carefully constructed mixed-method study of youth custody in Sweden presents a rare comparative analysis of the experiences and long-term effects of time spent in open and closed custodial institutions. Her insightful and theoretically-informed inquiry identifies the relevance of young people’s contact with their families and the community outside the institution for their successful re-integration following release. Her research adds valuable nuance to our understanding of the impact of youth custody for it illustrates the importance of paying attention to the conditions of confinement. Anyone with an interest in state responses to serious offending by young people will find this book well worth the read."

Dr Caroline Lanskey, Lecturer in Applied Criminology, University of Cambridge, UK